Aug. 8, 2022 - Summer jobs are a rite of passage for many teens and thanks to more than 40 community business partners, Comal ISD students are earning paychecks while gaining valuable experience as lifeguards, tour guides, food servers, cashiers, camp counselors and more this summer.
Recent Smithson Valley High School graduate Blake Hutzler started working as a park ranger for Natural Bridge Wildlife Ranch more than a year ago and continued to work on the weekends during the school year. He has gained many skills which he hopes to use in his future career as a zookeeper and ultimately a zoo owner.
“This job has given me good experience with working with others to accomplish tasks quickly and efficiently,” says Hutzler, who will attend Tarleton State University in the fall to study animal science and business. “It has also made me more responsible and helped me develop my social skills as I work with guests to make sure they are enjoying their experience.”
Hutzler plans to continue working for the Wildlife Ranch during his holiday breaks and summers while attending college.
Last spring, local business partners like Natural Bridge Wildlife Ranch participated in Student Job Fairs at each of the district’s high school campuses to talk to students like Hutzler about part-time, full-time, seasonal and internship opportunities that they offer.
Wildlife Ranch manager Brandy Turner says partnering with local school districts to hire students is mutually beneficial.
“For the majority of high school students who work here, this is their first job,” says Turner, who started working at the Wildlife Ranch as a student herself 22 years ago. “It gives them a first look at ‘real life’ and independence while they gain valuable knowledge and tools they can use to
help achieve future goals. From an employer side, it is rewarding to be a part of a student’s life. Plus, they have lots of energy and are eager to learn.”
The Wildlife Ranch generally hires 20 to 25 students in the summer and tries to retain about 15 throughout the year. Turner said they are currently looking for part-time employees for the fall and winter.
Just as Hutzler found the right job to help him gain experience and skills for his future career at the Wildlife Ranch, the district hopes to continue to connect students with local businesses, in order to find these opportunities.
In fact, students looking for jobs and internships should visit the district’s website which continues to add businesses throughout the year. Additionally, employers who would like to join the directory may complete an online form here.
Community partners who participated in this year’s summer job fairs for students include the following area businesses:
- Altra Industrial Motion
- Architectural Division 8, Inc.
- Bahama Buck’s
- Baja Icehouse & Grill
- Big State Electric
- The Branch Neighborhood Grill
- Brian Smith Orthodontics
- Camp Fimfo Texas Hill Country
- Christianson AC and Plumbing
- Church’s Chicken
- City of New Braunfels Parks and Recreation
- City of Wimberley Parks and Recreation Department
- Code4Bots, LLC
- Cranes Mill Marina
- Das Rec
- Dunkin’ Donuts
- Gruene General Store
- JBSA Canyon Lake
- Jellystone Hill Country
- Jimmy John’s Gourmet Sandwiches
- Kona Ice of New Braunfels
- Landa River Trips
- Las Palapas Towncenter
- Mario’s of NYC
- Natural Bridge Caverns
- Natural Bridge Wildlife Ranch
- New Braunfels Christian Ministries
- New Braunfels Family YMCA of Greater San Antonio
- School Aged Child Care (SACC)
- San Antonio Pool Management, Inc.
- Santikos Enterprise
- Schlitterbahn Waterparks and Resort
- Shrine Auditorium
- Stars and Stripes Drive-In Theatre
- TX FAME Lone Star Chapter
- uFlip Gymnastics
- UFP – Universal Forest Products LLC
- Urban Air New Braunfels
- US Army
- US Coast Guard
- US Navy (Recruiting New Braunfels)
- The Wash Tub
- Weber Autowerks
- Whitewater Amphitheater
-Recent Smithson Valley High School graduate, Blake Hutlzer, works at Natural Bridge Wildlife Ranch.