A Solution To Some Of Community Challenges

Basic Business Cents

Listening to conversations around the community, many challenges facing small communities are revealed. Some of these lamentations are:

  • Local youth do not have anything to do
  • Young people can’t find work in this area
  • There are help-wanted posters all over town
  • Youth don’t know how to work
  • Youth do not stay in this community after schooling

According to Stars and Stripes, a newspaper for the US Armed Forces, 70% (yes, seventy percent) of today’s youth cannot qualify to join the military. The major reasons are:

  • Obesity
  • Didn’t finish high school
  • Criminal record

Years ago, many youth enlisted in order to get a job and learn a trade or were given a choice of jail or enlistment by a judge for some youthful indiscretion.

Sports, music, and other school and church activities partially fill this void for some, but not for all.  There is a simple solution to these problems today for many of our youth, GET A JOB! A part-time job that is; it should not delay or deter anyone from finishing their degree work. In fact, local high schools cater to those students who wish to participate in the work force and complete their education. The degree is tremendously important today with the complexity we face in any job. The lack of it will forever haunt and hold back any youth that quits before graduation.

This subject brings up the concern of labor laws. A Guide to Starting a Business in Minnesota published by the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development clarifies this subject.

  • A minor under 14 may not be employed, except:
    • If at least 11 years old, as a newspaper carrier
    • If at least 12 years old, in agricultural operations with parent’s or guardian’s permission
    • As an actor or model with approval from the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry
    • As an assistant soccer referee
    • A minor under 16 may not work:
      • Before 7:00 am or after 9:00 pm, except as a newspaper carrier
      • More than 40 hours a week or eight hours in a 24-hour period except in an agricultural operation
      • On school days during school hours, unless an Employment Certificate is issued by the appropriate school officials and kept on file by the employer
      • Sixteen and 17-year-old high school students may not work:
        • After 11:00 pm on evenings before school days (11:30 pm with written permission of a parent or guardian) or
        • Before 5:00 am on school days (4:30 am with written permission of parent or guardian)

Ideas without action are worthless. It appears that a matchmaker or focal point is needed to match youth who want a part time job with employers who want to help. Local high schools might be in the best position to be this matchmaker or clearinghouse. The youth need someone to talk to about their desires and have a two-way discussion with someone who has knowledge of opportunities.

The employers in the community need to create these opportunities as a part of their civic responsibility in addition to increasing their workforce. The parents need to counsel their children on the opportunities and benefits of part-time jobs.

Benefits, in addition to addressing the lamentations listed above, are numerous to all concerned.

The community benefits by adding to the work force energetic, willing-to-learn employees who might be more tempted to stay in the community after finishing their education. The employers gain by obtaining additional workforce at fairly low cost who might become full-time employees after completion of their education. The youth gain by obtaining fulfilling use of their time, exercise, income to aid their families or save for future needs, learn jobs that they do, or do not, like, and experience higher self-esteem.

That sounds like a win-win-win solution to complaints heard on the streets.