The Path Less Traveled

May 15, 2017

For a variety of reasons, not every young person is able to obtain a college degree before entering the workforce. From the skyrocketing cost of a four-year degree, to family obligations that require young people to help generate income, every year, Teens Lead @ Work (TL@W) encounters many young people who will need to start full-time, career building employment after high school graduation. These are just the young people TL@W had in mind when it held its second annual Pathways to Good Jobs event on Saturday, March 18.
 
Again teaming up with the Greater Boston Labor Council (GBLC) Futures Committee, a coalition of young union leaders, TL@W set up shop at the Bolling Municipal Building in Roxbury with the goal of attracting area youth ages 14-24 who may not have considered a union career once they graduate.
 
Utilizing interactive workshops and a job fair, Pathways is designed to give young people a sense of what makes a good job after high school: one with good wages, benefits, and room for growth over their career. With TL@W heading outreach, over 50 teens attended the event.
 
The job fair featured a variety of TL@W-led workshops, providing the young attendees with the knowledge and skills to stay safe on the job, how to address harassment, and the role organized labor plays in our communities. Teens also had the opportunity to attend a career panel on the benefits of a union career, consisting of members of Teamsters Local 25, Sheet Metal Workers Local 17, and the Boston Teachers Union.
 
Other unions in attendance at the event included the New England Regional Council of Carpenters, 1199SEIU, IUPAT District Council 35, Ironworkers Local 7, UNITE/HERE Local 26’s BEST program, the Metro Boston Building Trades, Elevator Constructors Local 4, and the Harvard Union of Clerical & Technical Workers.
 
Pathways to Good Jobs is just the latest effort by MassCOSH and the GBLC to introduce young people to the labor movement and educate them on how organized labor has made good, safe jobs available to them.
 
“It’s no secret, organized labor is under attack by groups who would like to see workers stripped of their ability to fight collectively for better wages and benefits so that a very few can make more money,” said TL@W Coordinator Jenny Fernandez. “We hope that this fair, along with all the other trainings TL@W offers young people will show the newest generation just how important organized labor is to everyone’s livelihood.”