Friday, June 17, 2016

A Teen Employment Division of DOL and Other Career Centers

I was very surprised to learn that the Department of Labor does not offer help to teen job seekers younger than 18-years-old. There are notices on DOL cork boards about child labor laws and Job Corps, which is a job training program for 16 to 24-year-olds, nothing, however, about jobs that teens younger than 18 can work during the summer and/or after a traditional school day...

The Memphis Office of Youth Services manages programs for a limited number of 14 to 21-year-olds who live in Memphis. One of those programs is Mploy Youth,* which randomly selects and offers employment to approximately 1,000 youth via a computerized lottery. The other is MAP (Memphis Ambassadors Program), which is a year-round program for 400 students in grades 9 through 12. MAP offers full-time internships to seniors during the summer, while other students participate in a two-week enrichment camp to "build employment skills, gain cultural exposure, learn about health and wellness" and "participate in team-building activities" (*My son applied to and was not selected for the 2016 Mploy Youth program. I'm personally helping him apply for jobs, however. Nonetheless, all parents are not aware that their teens can work and/or experience challenges finding companies that hire teens younger than 18).   

It dawned on me that DOL's exclusion of services to teens who are eligible to work is one of the primary reasons that crime is so prevalent amongst teens, who simply don’t have enough constructive activities to occupy their time. All high schools, Department of Labor and other applicable career centers (including mobile career centers) should have teen employment divisions or provisions that would help all teens create and perfect resumes and conduct job searches amongst those companies that hire teens...

A program of the sort should have established criteria, of course—Teens who work after school should be required to maintain acceptable GPAS of certainly no less than a C average. DOL employment websites should enable creation of teen accounts via which students could upload and/or create resumes and upload report cards and other relevant documents, and/or the sites should be enabled to electronically retrieve students’ grades from their schools each progress and report card period, or when they are updated in PowerSchool; each teen employment office should have tutoring labs to help those who are struggling academically, with the goal of helping them qualify to work.

Students who have been retained or failed a grade should be required to attend summer school and not be allowed to work until they are showing acceptable progress and/or until they have completed all failed course work to be promoted to their accurate grade.

Ideally, teens would work no more than twenty hours per week during the active school year, the maximum number of hours that college students are permitted to participate in work studies, and those who qualify could work full-time during summer periods.

Teen Bank Accounts and Debit/Pay Cards

To facilitate pay and for safety purposes, teens and really everyone should be paid via direct deposit into a personal bank account or via a pay card. Teens should also be encouraged to open savings accounts for college, etc.  

In Summation and Conclusion

A teen employment division at high schools and Department of Labor (DOL) and other applicable career centers would help to get more teenagers employed, those specifically who are not selected from city teen employment lotteries. Again, this would reduce criminal activity where this age group is concerned and be great politics.

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