Well that explains why kids can’t work in DC

My first regular paid job was as a cashier at the Winn-Dixie when I was 16. I had begun searching after reps from Bob Evans presented several openings at a rally at my high school, looking for dishwashers, bussers, and waiters. Several of us, including me, applied, but I wasn’t chosen. That got me dropping applications at the mall, fast food joints, the dollar store, and the grocery store. During the school year I worked 11-20 hours, mostly weekends when the store was busy. Sometimes at night, cleaning the registers.
Anyway, I have always wondered why I don’t see more teenagers working in DC. Well I got a link from DC Lawyers for Youth (DCLY), and their handbook (PDF). Looking at page 12 it says a kid must be at least 14 years old and can’t work more than 8 hours a day. Fine and good. However the work hours are limited for 16-17 year olds in that they can’t work after 10pm, so they can’t close up at a place that closes at 10PM, and those hours appear to be year round. Also, they would need a permit from DCPS to work. When I was growing up we didn’t need no stinkin’ work permit.
So now I see why teenage employment seems to be limited to DC government sponsored summer programs. That and the flood of immigrant and college student labor.
The job I held in high school was good for me. It taught me how to balance work and school, a very useful skill when doing the same thing in college when you really need the money. It also allowed me to work towards a savings goal of a senior European trip, because heaven knows I wasn’t going to get that money from my parents… and college. Lastly, believe it or not I was able to use my 5 years of cashiering experience on resumes for jobs involving customer service. It has appeared in KSAs when showing that I can communicate verbally with a variety of people.

I don’t really agree with this- labor event

I was a little bit snarky when I got the announcement about a gathering in Shaw regarding worker’s rights. The PDF, which I’m not attaching, mainly because my Firefox don’t like PDFs, says:

Workers’ Rights Board Hearing
Wage Theft
DC’s Hidden Crime
Every day hard working people in DC are denied their fair wages. Workers are:
+ Classified as contractors
+ Denied overtime
+Paid below minimum wage, paid less than agreed, paid with bad checks, and sometimes paid not at all.
Thursday February 18th
First Rising Mt. Zion Church
602 N St, NW
Mt. Vernon Sq metro’
Join academic, faith and political leaders in examining this hidden crime wave….

No problem with addressing criminality in contract law and tax evasion (classification of workers as contractors), however I did have a problem with a blurb on the email:

Every day working people in our city have their hard-earned wages skimmed or outright stolen from them. Employers withhold tips, force people to work off the clock, pay less than the minimum or prevailing wage, pay less than promised, and sometimes run off without paying at all.
For poor and working people who already struggle to make ends meet, even a small theft of wages can be disastrous for their families. Cumulatively, employers steal billions of dollars from millions of workers – money that is lost to families and communities, exacerbating the current economic crisis.

To me this insinuates that most employers are criminals, which is a line of thinking I find very disagreeable. Also with the mention of “millions” and considering that the population of the District hovering somewhere around just half that, this doesn’t hint at a local discussion, but rather a general anti-capitalist gathering. I also note a lack of mentioning resources for victims of these offenses (if it is so widespread and everything). Instead of being snarky, I’m just stating what I am okay with and where I strongly disagree.

Low Income

Though 2010 is around the corner I wanted to share. If you are a single person and in 2009 and you are making $44,800, you my friend, according to HUD are low income. Funny thing, I know a guy who makes a smidge, as in I rounded up, above low income. I’m sure he considers himself middle class. Middle class by $200. If you’re single making $35,950 you are “very low income,” and if you are single making $21,550 you are obviously working at a non-profit for chicken feed (USPRIG?).
A GS-5 step 1 position, which is what I started off as in DC, and the starting salary of a UDC staff asssitant is less than very low income.

Loudmouth Cellphone talker presents job opps

Just passing this along…
I was on the bus heading home when a guy on a cell phone was talking loudly to his friend about applying for a job. He said they are hiring at where he works and they need people and he’s working both the day and night shift. He also announced they are hiring at Nine West. Where he works they’ll do a background check but as long as you didn’t do anything that involves stealing it’s cool. They are paying $7 something an hour, and need cashiers and stockers (night shift). Where is this place? Burlington Coat Factory in City Place Mall in Silver Spring. They are also hiring at Rainbow at City Place. Talk to the manager, her name might be Ebony. And there is a manager named Tasha (?) at the Nine West.
But the juiciest job tip was the bouncing gig. If you are a ‘female’ and you can break up fights (specifically fights in bathrooms), somewhere there is a club looking for you and will pay $100 a night. Sadly, I got off the bus before the name of this club was revealed.
Now I just wanna bust out in a rendition of “Meeting in the Ladies Room” (youtube)

Youth Jobs

I grew up in a mid-sized town in Florida. One day at a school assembly in the gym or cafeteria a person from Bob Evans came to speak to my high school about the franchise they were about to open up near the interstate. They were taking applications for waitstaff, bussers, etc and said it would be great after school work. I and a bunch of my friends applied. A guy named Michael from my group of friends got the job and held it from the time he was a junior until graduation. I, miffed that I didn’t get hired, started applying at other places around town and got a job at the Winn-Dixie at the age of 16. One of my friends got a job there too as bagger then stocker but about a year later got fired after an angry exchange with the store manager. Closer to DC and this century, my cousins in Laurel had the typical high school jobs working in the food service industry at the multi-national corporations of Pizza-Hut and Wendy’s.
So someone explain to me the city’s summer jobs programs. I’m a bit confused. Can’t kids get year round after school jobs? Which I believe is good prep for balancing college and “work-study”. So far this year we’ve seen youth produced green litter, tree destruction, and vandalism?/shoddy workmanship.
Before this year my knowledge of the program came from my (now retired) aunts’ description of whatever city sponsored intern was assigned to her at NGS. Some students were hits, with a great attitude, self-motivated, and talented with a wonderful work ethic. But there were several misses, of students who didn’t follow instructions, barely showed up on time, and screwed up so badly that she had to undo their work/damage. The bad ones were sometimes so clueless to their poor work that one asked for a referral letter. Then again, I’ve encountered college aged interns that bad too.
Getting back to the city program, what I don’t get is do these kids, or don’t they, have after-school work opportunities throughout the year? Is it cheaper than summer school, which serves the same purpose of keeping them out of trouble?
I guess what I’m trying to say is this large city sponsored youth employment thing is foreign to me. I’m not entirely sure what it succeeds in doing well. So somebody explain it to me.

Inauguration Musings- Getting to work

If I was still working at the Holocaust Museum and scheduled to work Tuesday, I’d be so screwed.
Yes, January 20th is a Federal holiday, however, holiday or no, some people have to get to work. Think about all the places that will be open or have to be open Tuesday. Closer to the action are the museums, and the Holocaust Museum is only closed on two days, Yom Kippur & Christmas. I take it that the Smithsonian Institutions’ museums are the same, minus Yom Kippur. So there are the security, janitorial and exhibit area personnel who have to show up. Then you’ve got restaurants, coffee shops, hotels with waiters, managers, and other staff who need to get in. And silly question, will the Gallery Place Bed, Bath and Beyond be open? The movie theater?
Getting to work in the core inauguration area is an obvious bear. What of the other parts of DC that depend on workers who commute from Virginia? Hopefully getting from MoCo, or Ward 9 (aka PG Co) won’t be that bad…. with VA traffic diverted to Maryland…. Metro overloaded. It will be interesting to hear, with the bridge closures and the predictions of heavily trafficked roads, what the impact of the day will be for parts of the city far from the downtown area.
But right now, I’m so thankful that I’m no longer a Visitor Services Representative at the Holocaust Museum. I remember trying to get home after the Million Man March. The entry to the Smithsonian station (Ag Building side) was so blocked with people, a blockage that wasn’t moving, I turned around and walked across the 14th Street Bridge. I wouldn’t have that option, the 14th Street Bridge will be closed to pedestrians and cyclists from 2am to 7pm on the 20th, according to the Washington Post.

There’s ethnic pride and then there is something else

Last night the 5C meeting took place at Mt. Sinai Baptist Church. One of the presenters at the meeting was looking for approval for a modification, brought on by “suggestions” by the city government, for a hotel and conference center to be built over by the Children’s Hospital and Catholic U. There was the horse trading of what the developers could provide for the ‘community’ in return for support. You don’t ask, you don’t get, so you may as well ask. Most of the chatter was in regards to meeting space. One of commissioners, a flashy dressed and exceedingly verbose man, asked about jobs for the community, specifically for native born African-Americans; to the exclusion of African born, Latino, or any other non-white persons, as I understood what he was saying through all those words. Now, it’s fine to want to support your own ethnic group, however asking someone to give preference to your ethnic group over other minority ethnic groups, is somewhere in the land of wrong.

Expecting More with Neighborhoods

Ok, I’m done with Sudhir Venkatesh’s “Off the Books” and there is one thing (among many) that is a subject that I found interesting, the neighborhood as a source of income. In the underground economy of his book residents are making side income by making meals, hosting gambling parties, selling products in the park, shade tree auto repair, and the such. With “Tally’s Corner”, I got the hint that neighborhood income was preferable so a man could keep an eye on things at home. Anyway, I think back to one or two neighborhood meetings that I have attended where someone (a resident oldtimer) expressed a desire for the community/ neighborhood to provide jobs or employment or income for residents.
Maybe that’s expecting too much of the neighborhood if it is to produce jobs. DC isn’t an industrial town. Shaw, is mainly a residential area with some commercial corridors (U St, 14th St, and a bit of 9th St). Besides, in successful neighborhoods residents get their wealth from other parts of the city and the region. Of the self-employed persons I know in the neighborhood, a job/ client in the neighborhood is nice, but not necessary. Others who have decent jobs work elsewhere. They work downtown, in Dupont, out in NoVa or Maryland. Not since college have I worked in the same immediate area as my work (TA, work-study in the library, etc), so as an adult I lived close of enough for a reasonable commute but not close enough to walk. I never expected or demanded that the job be that close to the house. Come to think of it I like a certain distance to help with the work/life balance.
As far as work goes the neighborhood does provide something. It provides good transportation, or more specifically RELIABLE transportation, so I can get to work on time. It is close enough so the commute is reasonable.

Child labor

Something has been bugging me about the whole Summer school jobs program, and I can’t put my finger on it.
When I was in high school (over twenty years ago) I remember the people of Bob Evans coming to my high school and recruiting for wait and kitchen staff. I remember applying and being disappointed when my friend Michael got a job and I didn’t. That did get me applying to other jobs and I got my first job working at Winn-Dixie. There were labor laws out there regulating hours so there wouldn’t be a conflict with school. I held that job from the time I was a junior in high school till I was almost a junior in college.
My younger cousins in Laurel, MD were on a similar track, working for national food chains (you want fries with that?) in their junior and senior years in high school.
So I’m wondering, don’t DC high school kids get jobs for the rest of the year? I understand that in Summer there is this ability to work more than 10 hours a week, and students are available during business hours. But what’s going on in DC that discourages kids from working the rest of the year?
I got a lot out of my year round high school job. I learned about balancing school, work and home. I experienced taxes being taken out of my paycheck. I learned how to be a good cashier and offer decent customer service. I got job experience that helped with later, more ‘professional’ grown-up jobs. And I got about $60-$70 a week.
So really are kids in DC not working the rest of the year? A part-time job keeps you out of trouble, gets a few dollars in your pockets, and allows you to excerise work habits on a regular basis.

I went to community college

Just a quick mention, in relation to something I thought about while responding to a comment. I wonder why there isn’t a stronger push for community colleges in the DC metro area?
A little info on me. I have about 12 or 20 (I have to look) credit hours from my hometown community college. At least 4 credit hours I took while still in high school. The county school system had this great program where we could get a head start with college by taking courses at the CC (comm. coll.) free of charge. Since a huge bunch of us were going to go to Univ of Florida, FSU, FAMU, or another state university it was a great way to knock out some required courses for free. Later, I went to CC during the summers so I could get Cs in classes I was going to do badly in anyway, so why not get a C for about $29 a credit hour, vs a D (these were weed out classes) at $45 a credit hour?
My mom got her Certified Nurse’s Assistant (CNA) certificate from the CC, and that is what she’s doing now in her semi-retirement. My sister is a CC drop-out, but she was aiming for something in the veterinary field. So I’ve experienced and seen how CCs are useful in a community in helping people get jobs by giving them specific training. When I hear about job training around here, it (and please forgive my ignorance) doesn’t sound like more than advice on doing a job interview and introduction to a computer. And this goes back to another problem I mentioned before of the community trying or asked to support programs it has no direct dealings with, difficulty judging the efficacy of those programs. Basic skills have value, but I wonder how far it gets you in an environment where more workers have that skill set, plus this, that, and something else.