Home » Bill Creates “Workplace Readiness Week” for High School Students

Bill Creates “Workplace Readiness Week” for High School Students

Press Release

by CC News
Assemblywoman Liz Ortega

New Bill Would Create a “Workplace Readiness Week” for California High School Students to Better Prepare Them for the Workforce

SACRAMENTO – California high school students would receive much-needed instruction about their workplace rights under a new bill proposed today by Assemblymember Liz Ortega (D-San Leandro). The bill, AB 800, would require California high schools to hold an annual “Workplace Readiness Week” to teach students about their workplace rights and how to seek help when they are violated. It passed out of the Assembly Education Committee with a 5-2 vote, and will now be referred to the Labor Committee.

The bill is sponsored by the California Labor Federation, GenUp, and California Federation of Teachers, and has the support of several other labor and youth groups, who attended and gave testimony in support.

“Young people are concentrated in industries where wage theft and other labor abuses are very common.” said Assemblymember Ortega. “In 2021, 109 teenagers died from work-related injuries in the United States. That same year, over 33,000 teens suffered workplace injuries so severe that they needed to go to the emergency room.”

During the presentation, UC Berkeley student Raquel Lopez Blanco gave testimony about working as a minor at her first job at a convenience store. She described wage theft, a lack of safety, and experiencing sexual harassment from customers, which her manager dismissed.

“We were paid well below minimum wage, but what was even worse was the sexual harassment and lack of safety. Store customers would wait outside for me after work,” Lopez Blanco recounted. “When I told the store owners about the harassment and safety concerns, they laughed it off. When you’re young and new to the workforce, you don’t know about your rights. That’s why this legislation is so important―to make sure other young people don’t have to go through what I did.” ”

The US Labor department recently reported that child labor law violations have quadrupled since 2015, as mostly migrant children are working long hours in dangerous conditions. Red states have responded by passing laws that loosen these protections,  like the one recently signed by Arkansas Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders.

“I am so proud to see this bill pass through its first policy committee,” said Assemblymember Ortega. “We have received so much support from labor, student, and PTA groups. It has been amazing to see the community come together to express how much this bill means to them.”

To arrange for an interview with Assemblymember Ortega or Raquel Lopez Blanco, please contact M.V. Watson at 210-667-5046. 

Assemblymember Liz Ortega is a member of the Assembly Committees on Higher Education, Insurance, Labor and Employment, Public Safety and Rules. She represents the 20th Assembly District, encompassing all or a portion of the cities of Hayward, San Leandro, Union City, Dublin, Pleasanton and the unincorporated areas of Ashland, Cherryland, Fairview, San Lorenzo, and Castro Valley.

You may also like