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Earning and learning

Op Ed piece courtesy of The Ellsworth American


Know any young people who need to make some money? The state has just made it easier for young teens to gain practical experience and make progress toward deciding what they want to do, or not do, later in life.

Effective immediately, Maine’s labor regulations regarding youth employment have been modified, enabling 14- and 15-year olds to work in movie theaters, bowling alleys, permanent amusement parks and perform some functions within bakeries and hotels, while still ensuring protection from hazardous conditions.

Sponsored by Sen. Brian Langley (R-Hancock County) and signed into law by Governor LePage, LD1564 arrives in time to help this summer’s overheated labor shortage by letting many businesses tap into a new and significant labor pool — unemployed youths.

“There is no better preparation for the responsibilities of adulthood than working when you are a teenager,” the Governor stated on signing the law. “There is more we can do, so we must continue to help young people gain the experience, skills and knowledge about their own career interests that can only come from holding a job.”

Labor Commissioner John Butera advised, “Employers in the selected industries can immediately make job offers to 14- and 15-year olds for the newly expanded occupations”. Requiring work permits processed by a student’s superintendent of schools, the Labor Department will expedite all permit applications for the selected age applicants. Julie Rabinowitz and her capable staff at Labor are waiting to help — 621-5009.

Many successful individuals found their path forward from summer jobs that led to opportunities that opened doors down the road. With so many job opportunities in our local hospitality industry, who knows what might occur, who knows what famous person could affect a child, your child, in a meaningful fashion that changes his or her life.

We salute Sen. Langley for sponsoring this sensible law that has positive outcome stamped all over it.

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