Marysville resident Lukas Bickel hopes his Teen Task Force will help students looking for summer jobs.

Marysville resident Lukas Bickel hopes his Teen Task Force will help students looking for summer jobs.

"The goal is to teach kids entrepreneurship with hands-on experience, to teach economics, teamwork and dependability," said Bickel, 28.

"So many times, they're getting out of college and their first day in their profession is their first day in a job. It's compromising the quality of our workforce down the line," he said. "It's amazing, hearing people who are unimpressed with this generation."

Teen Task Force is meant to change that attitude. Bickel worked on the teen side of the business when he was growing up.

At age 14, when Bickel lived in Baltimore Md., he wanted to start his own business doing odd jobs for people. He hung a flyer on the door of a man who owned a homeowner service and he offered to hire Bickel to work for him.

Bickel became the person to call when someone needed lawn work. He stayed in the Teen Task Force until he was 22, using income from the jobs he did to help him pay for college.

Now Bickel is using the same idea in Marysville. Five teenagers take part in the program, about the number of teens he wants involved for now. He trains them following the same system as the military: E1 teens are the lowest-ranking and work closely with Bickel to learn how to evaluate odd jobs for estimates - things like cleaning gutters, mowing lawns, and painting. As they move up in rank, they become more independent and start to operate more as their own business with Bickel acting as a point person. The rankings go up to E5.

"They even have little ranks on their uniforms like the military stripes," he said. "They get a bottom arch and so on. The veterans like that system."

The program started to take shape last August. Bickel spent the winter getting the business organized. Insurance, worker's compensation, uniforms and overall structure helped get the program ready to go as soon as spring hit.

"We've worked on a handful of jobs," he said. "The biggest lifeline has been the church community. I entered an auction to get our name out there so we did some free work."

He told the teens they would always have something to do and would earn money.

As a history teacher at St. John's Lutheran School, Bickel said he loves the whole aspect of the program, including the civics and economy lessons.

"As they get hands-on experience, they're learning team work dependability and finance. We're encouraging an entrepreneurial spirit," he said.

Hard work, teamwork, and leadership are important to Bickel.

"When they do a good job and I get these great praises from people, I have that renewed faith in youth," he said. "I want the community to have a renewed faith in youth. I think these kids can be the representation of that. I've been impressed with them."