2008 Academy Projects
PROJECT 1: This Is a Public Service Announcement
TEAM: Manual Arts High School, Los Angeles, CA
This YWLA team who are also members of the Youth in Power Club at Manual Arts High School believed the best way to promote and educate the community on workplace health and safety rights would be through media outreach. Their Adult Sponsor solicited the expertise of a great resource for the team – a USC School of Animation graduate student – to assist them.
The YWLA team created and performed in two, 30-second Public Service Announcements (PSAs) created both in Spanish and English. The first PSA, titled "Undocumented Workers: Know Your Rights!" conveyed that workers, regardless of their immigration status, have workplace health and safety protections. The PSA demonstrated how undocumented workers can be intimidated by employers in the workplace and moreover, are often unaware of their rights as workers. This intimidation and lack of awareness can result in injuries. The PSA concluded with information on how to contact the California Department of Industrial Relations for further assistance. The second PSA, titled "Sexual Harassment: It's Not Safe to Let it Continue", expressed that sexual harassment is a serious violation of the Civil Rights Act. In addition, it gave contact information on how to reach the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
After the two PSA's were completed, they were screened at two venues. The first venue was the PeaceJam Slam, an event hosted by the Cesar E. Chavez Foundation, where youth from various youth groups and organizations attended and presented workshops on their service learning projects. The YWLA team received positive feedback on their two PSA's from both youth and adults. Next, with assistance from the USC graduate student, the PSA's were screened at the Chapman Building in downtown Los Angeles every night for six consecutive weeks for the public to view. As of September 2008, the PSA's had been viewed by more than 200 youth and adults.
One of the challenges that the YWLA team encountered was how to obtain more organizational support. The team believed that with additional support, the youth would have been able to complete their project earlier and to therefore give additional presentations in the community. You can view their PSA's on the popular YouTube website as well as on the UCLA-LOSH Youth Project web page.
"Never be afraid to speak up and stand up for your rights!"
–Manual Arts Team Member
PROJECT 2: I Need a Job... Like Today!!
TEAM: Day One, Pasadena, CA
The Day One Team promoted health and safety to young workers through a unique, free, teen job fair in the City of Pasadena. At the job fair, participating companies were ready and eager to recruit future teen employees. At the same time, the YWLA team found this to be a great opportunity to coordinate workshops and presentations for youth on health and safety concerns in the workplace. The activities ranged from a Do's and Dont's fashion show to a presentation on Youth Rights in the Workplace.
The YWLA team definitely practiced what they learned at the YWLA. First, they produced a fact sheet covering youth rights in the workplace. The fact sheet was distributed at John Muir High School and at the Teen Job Fair. Then the team developed a teen job flyer to catch youths' attention, which was displayed throughout Pasadena. The team's hard work in organizing and preparing for the job fair was truly reflected by the large number of attendees -- more than 200 youth participated. This number does not include the many adult attendees!
The Youth Rights in the Workplace presentation covered child labor laws, resources and information for teens, and poetically expressed the need for workplace health and safety. In addition, the youth audience was invited to participate in three different skits to demonstrate what they learned during the presentation which lasted about twenty-five minutes.
The main challenge that the YWLA team encountered was the scheduling of the workshops. They realized that they should have held the Youth Rights in the Workplace presentation at the beginning of the event rather than at the end because they believed they could have reached more youth. A number of the youth left the event towards the end of the job fair because they had already eaten and it was a long day. Another idea the team would have liked to pursue was an informational video. While they lacked materials for a video, they will keep this idea in mind for a future project.
"This experience has taught me that teens have rights in the workplace. It was fun and rewarding to know that I got to share this valuable information with others in order to prevent an accident."
–Day One Team Member
PROJECT 3: Safety Patrols
TEAM: Golden Sheeve - Order of the Eastern Star, Los Angeles, CA
The Golden Sheeve team members were the new “Safety Patrols” for the Order of the Eastern Star. After returning from the Young Worker Leadership Academy, the team had aspirations to put the knowledge they obtained into action! They initially decided to create a workplace health and safety training video for young workers and possibly have it viewed at job orientations.
Although the idea was great, the YWLA team decided it would be more realistic to develop a PowerPoint presentation as their final team project. After learning many issues on youth workplace health and safety rights, the team decided to educate the community on the following topics: child labor laws, which include age restrictions for using certain equipment and chemicals; wages and hours for youth; wearing personal protective equipment; and identifying and eliminating workplace hazards.
The PowerPoint presentation was titled Know Your Rights as a Working Teenager. Overall, it was clear and concise for the audience to observe. The audience responded quite well and evaluations revealed that they felt they learned much about their health and safety rights at work. The “Safety Patrols” presented twice at their Golden Sheeve meetings reaching primarily pre-teens and teens. The “Safety Patrols” have reached over twenty youth and plan to give more presentations in the near future.
A major hurdle the Golden Sheeve team members had to overcome was a lack of time to work on their project. Some youth had part-time jobs, in addition to school and other extracurricular activities to juggle. Suggestions for next year include having the youth brainstorm their ideas more clearly on paper and assign each youth specific tasks with realistic deadlines.
"What I learned is that all teenagers have their rights and should know them when they start working."
–Golden Sheeve Team Member
PROJECT 4: The Phoenix
TEAM: Phoenix House Academy, Lake View Terrace, CA
The Phoenix House Academy came to the Young Worker Leadership Academy with great enthusiasm. Their participation definitely made a great contribution to the academy experience for all. Their positive energy was greatly appreciated.
Shortly after the academy, two of the YWLA team members left the residential Phoenix House facility. The Adult Sponsor had to quickly recruit another youth from Phoenix House to help with the development and creation of the YWLA team project.
The new YWLA team decided to build a website that advised teenagers on their rights as young workers. The website covers the following: child labor laws, wages and hours, resources for assistance, sexual harassment concerns, and information on Cal/OSHA. There is also a section on current events addressing workplace health and safety issues. The team intends to keep the website updated. It is estimated that as of September 2008, more than 100 youth had visited the website to get information on young workers health and safety. In addition, more than 50 adults visited the website.
One of the challenges the new YWLA team had was limited access to outside resources because Phoenix House youth are monitored and have daily activities that are regimented. Aside from this, the YWLA team believed they accomplished a lot with the materials they received at the YWLA and guidance from their Adult Sponsor, in particular learning a new skill on building a website. The Adult Sponsor stated "having the opportunity to create any project allowed them to express themselves freely and made them feel a part of something!"
"It is very reassuring to know that all employees have rights and that they should not be afraid to act on them"
–Phoenix House Academy Team Member
PROJECT 5: Did You Know?
TEAM: Charter Oak High School, Covina, CA
The Charter Oak High School team returned to their community in Covina, CA and quickly began to work on their YWLA team project. The youth put together a brochure called "Are You a Teenage Worker?" The brochure was distributed at the Parents Place Family Resource Center & Empowerment Center's 16th Annual Information Fair & Festival, which was held on April 27, 2008 for youth with disabilities. The Adult Sponsor helped organize this event.
The brochure included information on resources they received at the YWLA, such as workers' rights, child labor laws, and the many governmental agencies as well as other outside resources that address workplace health and safety topics. The Adult Sponsor contacted UCLA-LOSH and requested other informational materials that they could disseminate to youth. The UCLA-LOSH Youth Project sent copies of Safe Jobs for Youth Month 2007 posters; Facts at Your Fingertips – wallet size teen worker rules and rights cards; and "Are You a Working Teen?" brochures. The fair had over two-thousand people (both adults and youth) in attendance making it a very successful turnout! The team even received a certificate of recognition for their participation.
The Charter Oak team faced a few challenges. For example, their initial project was to work with the Regional Occupational Program (ROP) to change their curriculum to include workplace health and safety lessons for youth. The team realized that it was more involved than they could carry out. Also, their project was completed before the month of May and as a result, they had to meet more often than initially planned. Still, the team did great work and also enjoyed learning a new computer skill; Word Publisher, for designing brochures. Let's not forget they were the first Southern California YWLA team to complete their 2008 YWLA team project!
"It was a rewarding experience and I learned about job safety and my rights"
–Charter Oak Team Member
PROJECT 6: Injured On The Job?
TEAM: Southern California Youth Mentors
A group of seven youth mentors, five of whom are from the Greater Los Angeles area and two from San Diego - brainstormed their Youth Mentor Project during the Youth Mentor sessions at the 2008 YWLA (leadership skills and workplace health and safety training) They decided to educate and promote immigrant workers rights through a 30-second Public Service Announcement (PSA) video, which they titled Injured on the Job?
After the YWLA, the youth mentors interviewed workers for the PSA. Interviewees ranged from day laborers to student workers. Many were unaware of their health and safety protections under Cal/OSHA. The mentors personally developed the questions, distributed UCLA-LOSH resource pamphlets, and identified outside resources to edit and produce their PSA. The PSA is a concise and powerful presentation that can be viewed at events such as job fairs, conferences, and any special venues appropriate for at-risk workers.
The PSA has been screened in two locations. The first screening was in a San Diego local high school. The second was at the Peace Jam event held in Los Angeles during May is Safe Jobs for Youth Month. The youth mentors presented a "Know Your Rights: workshop, where resources were distributed and the PSA was presented. The predominantly youth audience gave positive feedback to the mentors and definitely recommended that the mentors screen the PSA at more public events! Lastly, the youth mentors educated youth on workplace rights at the national Peace Jam Conference held September 11-13, 2008 at Loyola Marymount University. The Peace Jam Conference brought Nobel Peace Laureates together to inspire youth for a global call to action and to kick off a campaign of service learning projects promoting peace and non-violence in the next ten years! Overall, the PSA has reached about 200 youth.
One of the challenges that the youth mentors faced was not having a specific place to gather, which prevented them from meeting on a regular basis to work on their project. This, in turn, did not allow them enough time to complete their assignments in a timely manner. Yet, the youth mentors did a great job and now their PSA 2008 is available online at a website created this year by one of the youth mentors.
"Not only am I bringing knowledge to myself but also to all the people that are afraid to confront their problems [at work] and scared to speak up!"
–Youth Mentor Team Member