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To the editor:
In Rowena Plett’s fine article, “Retiring co-op manager concerned for young farmers,” Dec. 6, Mike Thomas, reflecting on his working during high school loading wheat into railroad cars, is quoted as saying: “That was back when they could hire high school kids.”
This brings to mind how current labor laws carry with them unintended consequences that severely limit opportunities young people have to gain workplace experience.
How are young people supposed to learn basic job skills — such as showing up on time (dependability), getting along with others in the workplace, getting along with the public, managing their free time / work-time, gaining self esteem for jobs well done, gaining satisfaction of earning wages, learning how to manage money earned, earning greater responsibility, and so forth — when they are so limited as to what jobs they can have?
Any success I have enjoyed over the years is a direct result of the experience gained from high school jobs such as working at the grocery store, at the local truck stop (back when we changed flats on trucks with split-ring rims), at a refinery as an insulator’s helper (climbing all over the refinery), and on various construction projects.
Although the jobs might be classified as menial, the skills learned were of tremendous value. I feel bad for today’s young people, who must enter the workplace without the benefit of meaningful job experience during high school.
Last modified Dec. 20, 2017