When people think about a better economic future, they generally think about more education or working their way to higher paying or better employment. There are anecdotes for both paths. On the one hand there are the well-educated people who get the better jobs or the well-trained people who can command better hourly wages. On the other hand there are the Steve Jobs and Bill Gates who skip traditional educational training and get hands-on work experience that build up to success. But, both methods require individuals to participate in the employment process.
Participation and activity are underlying themes in the Seattle P-I’s recent post that lists the “10 Reasons Why You Still Don’t Have a Job.” The list includes networking, less online application time and more time actually devoted to job seeking. These are common problems and the list provides new avenues for job seekers to pursue. Two other items on the list, however, are of particular interest when considering a Tri-City Herald report on the number of young people, those between 16 and 24, who are neither employed nor in school. These items are: not thinking like a champion and resume, cover letter and interview problems. The report notes that fifteen percent of young people are not in school or employed which may not seem like a large amount, but according to the report that number comes to about 6 million young people. Young people who are neither gaining knowledge and skills nor getting work experience and income. Young people who are not participating now are more likely to become dependent on government assistance due to lower paying jobs in the future.
Employing Young People
As we have discussed in an earlier post, Washington State approved employers may employ teenagers as young as 14. These employers have to meet and follow special requirements and get the proper permits to employ minors, but there are benefits to employing young people, even teenagers. The minimum wage for minors is less than the standard minimum wage, but minors are limited on the number of hours they can work. Employing young people creates a young, trained workforce for which many employers currently have to look outside of the country. Additionally, young people tend to be more innovative and energetic, like young Jobs and Gates. However, when hiring young people, particularly minors, it is important to have clear employment agreement terms and understandable employment policies.
The Employment Agreement
Employment agreements, the contracts that create the employer-employee relationship, spell out the terms of employment. They specify the hours to be worked, hourly wages or salaries, health and retirement benefits, and terms for termination. Some employers, particularly those who are seeking to develop and retain highly trained employees will include promises of training or educational reimbursement. These additional terms can address the problems non-participating young people will face in the future and are incentives for current employees to gain more skills, advance, and create new positions for these young people. Unfortunately, getting young people who are not actively engaged in the process to participate will likely require more than just a clear and beneficial employment agreement, but it is a start.
If you have questions about employment, employment agreements, or unemployment claims contacting an employment attorney may help.