Did you know that every 6 minutes, somewhere in the U.S., a teenager
is injured seriously enough on the job to go to a hospital emergency room?
The good news is that most of these injuries can be prevented if teachers,
parents, employers, teens and others work together.
Help your students enter the world of work with the knowledge they need
to stay safe:
Know Your Teens.
What Teacher and Counselors Can Do.
Know Your Teens
As a teacher, you may be one of the few adults familiar with teens' lives
and concerns. Here are some national statistics to supplement what you
know, and to help you better understand what your students may face out
in the work world.
At least one third of your students may be working
at any time.
In California there were 914,000 teens (46.8% of 16- to 19-year-olds)
working in 2000 (Bureau of Labor Statistics). This doesn't include the
many teens and children who begin work before they're sixteen, both legally
and illegally. These are the next generation of workers in the U.S. and
many of them need help in learning about their rights in the working world.
Youth of color are less likely to be employed than
In 1995, 18% of young African Americans held jobs, compared with 38% of
young whites (U.S. Census Bureau, 1995 Current Population Survey March
Supplement). By age 17, 83% of whites, 79% of Hispanics, and 70% of African
Americans had job experience. These differences are primarily a result
of differences in family income and resources. Youth living in poorer
communities have fewer local job opportunities, may need to provide more
support at home, and may lack transportation to get themselves to jobs
outside their community.
Poor youth are more likely to work in hazardous industries.
According to the U.S. General Accounting office, low-income youth are
more likely than more affluent youth to work in hazardous industries such
as manufacturing, construction and agriculture (1991). These teens are
especially in need of health and safety training and knowledge about their
Teens work to earn money.
Most teens are working for the money rather than for the experience.
Approximately 20% of U.S. teens work to support their families and 44%
work to save for college (U.S. Department of Education 1996). These financial
needs are very real and should be addressed in helping teens to balance
their financial needs with their educational goals.
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What Teachers and Counselors Can Do
||Teach about teen worker rights and
- Teach health and safety in your classes. Various curricula
have been developed to educate teens about workplace safety and health
in work experience, workability, school-to-career and life skills classes,
as well as in academic classes such as U.S. Government, English or Science
classes. Click Here to view a list of
health and safety curricula.
- Let teens know about helpful resources. Download and post/distribute
our brochure listing our
toll free information line.
- Request Safe Jobs for Youth Month: A Resource Kit. This packet
is available to teachers during Safe
Jobs for Youth Month but can be used all year round to spread the
word in your school or community. The Resource
- Teaching Activity
- Safe Jobs for Youth Month Poster
- Factsheet: Are You A Working Teen?
- Sample Proclamation
- Sample Article for Employers
- Sample Article for Teachers
- Sample Article for Parents
- Health and Safety Resources Information
||Be aware of the laws that can protect
teens from being injured on the job.
||Remind your students that working
teens must have a work permit.
- In California, even during the summer, workers less than 18 years
old must have a permit to work for each new job (unless they have already
graduated). Students apply for work permits at their school or district
||Help teens with problems at work.
- If a student has concerns about hours or safety at work, help him
or her think about what changes are needed and why, whose help might
be needed, and how to approach the supervisor.
||Read through and encourage teens to
check out the For Teens page on
this web site.
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