From the Fields of Delano to the University of California, Irvine-A Mother & Daughter Share Their Story

Graciela immigrated to California in search of opportunities. She joined her husband who was farming in Delano, California, and together they have been working the land, building a life, and raising three daughters. Guadalupe, the eldest, grew up watching her parents get up at dawn to pick blueberries and grapes for the family. Raised by hard-working parents, Guadalupe learned perseverance, the value of hard work and the love of family. Six months ago, Guadalupe and her family packed the family truck and headed south. Guadalupe had earned a scholarship to pursue her academic dreams at UCI. Apart for the first time, the mother and daughter embarked on the next chapter of their lives.

Graciela

Graciela at work
Graciela at Work

I was born in Michoacán, Mexico, a beautiful place that has become very unsafe; people stay inside after dark.

Fourteen years ago, I made the decision to move to Delano, California. My husband was already a resident. He filed immigration papers for us, and we joined him. We came to fight for a better life and better opportunities for our children.

A Mother and a Farm Worker

I came to Delano with my daughter, Guadalupe, and her little sister, Itzel, who was only a year old. I started farming right away. My husband’s niece would watch my children and I also relied on daycare. When I got pregnant with my third one, I had to stop. It was a high-risk pregnancy, but after she was born, I returned to work.

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Delano Life is Farm Life

In Delano, we grow grapes, pistachios, and blueberries. Grape picking begins in mid-July and ends in November. After picking grapes, we prepare the fields for the next year.

The grapes, they like to climb. Both blueberries and grapes are exhausting jobs. But I don’t mind hard work.  

Las Blueberries

Blueberry picking season begins in April and ends in mid-June. You pick them with your hands, which can be difficult because they are very small and grow all through the leaves. Luckily, the blueberries leaves don’t have thorns. Blueberry picking can give you a backache. You have to carry more than one bucket around your waist, and as they fill up, each weighs about 4-6 pounds. When picking, we look for the blue ones. The blue ones are the good ones. But if we only pick blue ones, the workers who pack, and sort, who take out the green ones and the leaves, they wouldn’t have work.

Picking Blueberries
Picking Blueberries

 

Blueberries
Blue and Green Blueberries

Grape Season

Grape season starts in April. You have to watch for black-widows, bugs, heat, and pesticides. Working the grape vines gives you a sore back, too.

The vines are really tall and so it can get difficult. It gets really hot. There’s a lot of dirt, dust, and chemicals. Sometimes, the work can make you feel like crying. As you reach upward to tend to the grapes, your head looks up and it feels heavy. Your neck gets sore.

Grape Season
Grape Vines

A Typical Work Day

We get up at 5:30 am. We work 8  hours and then head home. The company is not too far. It’s about 20 minutes away from our home. The work involves many tasks. You have to fit the vines, move them around, tie them up. We climb, we tie, we shift the plants and the branches. The process takes about two months.

I used to cry because the work is hard. Your arms are up, your head is up. It’s hot. But one adjusts. It is a sacrifice, but we are so grateful to have work.

Pesticides

They smell strong. Our bosses try to spare us and move us out while the neighbors spray.

But the Poison Travels in the Wind.

As they fumigate in nearby farms, there really is nowhere to hide from the fumes, even if we try to move away.

The workers in surrounding farms start to feel light-headed and dizzy. What we breathe is pure poison. Some people get so ill that they break out into hives.

They usually remove us for 2 hours while they fumigate. We are not allowed to stay there.

Breaks and Lunches

In the morning we have 15-minute breaks. We take another break in the afternoon and a half hour for lunch.  We get plenty of water to drink.

The work remains very tough work but the companies have made improvements. In the recent years, they’ve tried to make shady areas for us. When we pick blueberries, it gets so hot, so they build canopies, like greenhouses, to create a little bit of shade. They also give sick farmworkers i.v. treatments. If we faint, they send us to the clinics. We work really hard and they do what they can to help us stay healthy.

My Husband and I-We Have Always Been a Team

My husband and I have always worked together.  We have been married for 20  years and we do everything together, but he is losing his sight. He is 17 years older than I am and suffers from diabetes and high blood pressure. He can no longer see out of one eye and can barely see out of his other eye, so I am the family driver.

Graciela's Husband
Jose Heredia-Graciela’s husband of 20 years.

 

Partners for Life-We are a Team
Partners for Life-Graciela and Jose Heredia share a lunch.

Work Groups

Typically, there are groups of 60 farmers overseen by supervisors. We work side by side with family teams but each family helps their own. We are friendly with others, but we are all focused on working fast and hard to bring money for our own families. Families move about, too. They move to other companies that offer better pay or better managers. They work with pistachio, mandarins, and oranges.

Slow Season-Means Relief to the Body but Tough on the Bills

I make ten dollars an hour. After taxes, not much is left.

In the last 3 weeks, we’ve only been working for 6 hours. This is not enough to survive. I still have to pay the rent and bills. They cut our hours because they say the coolers are filled with grapes. It is hard to survive sometimes, without a fixed schedule.

Our family, we are our own work team. We pack, and my husband carries the produce on a cart. My sister also helps pick the grapes and places them on trays. We bring everything out of the field, we pack it and put together boxes filled with produce. We get paid fifteen cents per box. We process about 80 to 90 boxes. I bring home about $380 per week, which adds up to $1200 per month after taxes. Our rent is $900 a month, not including utilities. Not much is left to eat. We live day to day.

Don Heredia

Jose Heredia Taking a Break
Jose Heredia Taking a Break

We used to be able to bring fruit home to eat but the rules have changed.  They told us that people used to bring home too much, and now sometimes they let us bring home one bag.

Packing
Packing
Packing
Packing

The Cold Months are Tough-When the Plants go to Sleep, Everything stops.

During the cold months, nothing grows. It is pointless to look for other farming jobs in the area because all plants are resting. It gets so cold. Everything freezes over. Sometimes, you can pick oranges but not many.

Surviving the Winter Months Requires Creativity. You have to Invent Jobs when All Families are Doing the Same.  

Most of us have to file unemployment during the winter months. But we don’t settle for that.

I Sell Makeup To Help My Family

When my girls were young, I told my husband,

“I’m not willing to live in poverty, and I don’t want to answer questions, like “what did you do with all the money?” “You already spent it all?”

Sometimes, we, women, want to buy ourselves and our families something extra.

One day, I had an idea. I was pregnant at the time and I thought, maybe I can sell makeup!

Graciela Heredia-Enjoying a Day Off and Preparing for the Holidays
Graciela Heredia-Enjoying a Day Off and Preparing for the Holidays

The inspiration came one day when I was doing laundry in a local laundromat. I saw an ad from Jafra, a make-up company from Mexico. The ad said, “sell makeup and keep 50% of what you sell.” So I went to my husband and said:

“Can you loan me $200?”

“Para que?” he responded. “Make-up? Woman, who’s going to buy make-up in Delano?”

“Come on. Trust me. Let me borrow your card. I promise. I will return what I borrow.”

My husband let me borrow the money and I ordered my first make-up kit, with perfume bottles and all.

I was so excited. I grabbed my kit, took to the streets and started selling. I went door to door and visited every woman I knew, friends and acquaintances. The best part? After a month, I went to my husband and said:

Here you go. Here is your money back.” “Look. I even have some money left over to buy us things.”

Ever since then I have been selling makeup to supplement my income during the winter season. The company is Jafra, a Mexican cosmetic company.

Jafra Makeup
Graciela’s Jafra Makeup

I have many clients, but I don’t always sell a lot. I give them facials, do their make up and spray perfume. The challenge is that when money doesn’t come in because we are not farming, women don’t have extra money to spend on makeup.

I sell more during farming season. Then, women work hard and they want to treat themselves. Sometimes my clients ask me to order special perfume or makeup as a special gift for their little girls.

I sell makeup because farming is not enough. We have to provide for our families. We have to charge forward.

Giving up and waiting are not options.

I have a sick mother back in Mexico who depends on me. My girls, here, they need shoes for school and other things. I don’t make much, but every bit helps.

When I get a little money from my makeup sales, I tell my girls, let’s go treat ourselves.

When I Can’t Sell Makeup, I Bake and Sell Bread. 

When no one buys makeup, I bake breads, and my neighbor and I sell them together. During the winter months, this allows us to make extra. My neighbors have gotten used to my bakings and expect it:

You are going to start baking soon?” I bake my wheat bread, sell it and sometimes I even make $20 from my sales.

We have to work hard to survive the winter season. Unemployment takes a long time to kick in. This means, that there are a couple of weeks with nothing coming in, which is difficult. I try to anticipate and plan. I will think of side jobs and work extra hard so my family won’t go without.

There used to be five of us to support in our Apartment. My daughter Guadalupe is Off to College Now.

Heredia Family Celebration-Guadalupe's High School Graduation
Heredia Family Celebration-Guadalupe’s High School Graduation

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Guadalupe

My daughter Guadalupe started kindergarten in Delano. I am extremely proud of her. She has always been a great daughter, very studious. Her youngest sister even says: “My sister Guadalupe  is the most of intelligent of all of us.” Guadalupe is very organized. One of Guadalupe’s dreams is to graduate and help her family. I wish all her dreams will come true; that she will charge ahead and let nothing stand in the way of her dreams.

My husband used to always tell Guadalupe: “Study hard, hija, so you can go to college in Fresno.”

But Guadalupe  would answer: “Ah, no papi, I am studying so that I can go wherever I want.”

My husband insisted: “No, go to Fresno! How will we take care of you if you go too far? Stay close to us.”

But Guadalupe always thought for herself.

Looking Back on My Childhood 

When I was young, we would wake up at 5 a.m. My mom would take us to my aunt’s house where we would go back to sleep until it was time to go to school. After school, we would go back to my cousin’s and stay there until my parents came home.

Growing up in Delano, I went to Del Vista Elementary school. Most families sending their children there were either farmers or did field work to supplement their income.

I never worked in the fields until this past summer. I worked in a potato line, throwing out the rotten ones, removing the rocks, dirt, critters, just sorting the potatoes. I worked about 12 hours a day, and yes, it was hot!

My parents work very hard, including Saturdays. My mother dedicates part of her time to go out to do her little business. On Sundays, when she doesn’t work she really likes spending time with friends and family.

How a Girl from Delano found out about UCI

I have always been self-driven.  I learned about UCI (the University of California, Irvine), through my charter school, the Wonderful College Prep Academy, which was founded by the company that owns, Wonderful Halos and Wonderful Pistachios. It is a school for the children of farmers, for the parents who work for the Wonderful Company, and for the community. The Wonderful Company offers $6000 UC scholarships and $4000 for the Cal States. The award gets sent quarterly and we have to manage it. Even though we have graduated and are now at the university, the academy continues to send regional retention coordinators that meet with us once a week. We talk about our classes and our grades and how we are doing. My coordinator works for the company and travels from LA to see me every week at UCI.

Image result for Wonderful College Prep Academy
The Wonderful College Prep Academy is owned by the Wonderful Company, which promotes a range of philanthropic activities that focus on investing in and collaborating with the communities where their employees live and work. The company established the program, Wonderful Education, in 2012. To date, they have reached more than 55,000 Central Valley students across 83 schools in 24 districts. The company awarded more than 1,500 college scholarships and incentives, as well as 1,300 teacher grants.

The charter school is the reason I learned about UCI, and the majority of my classmates ended up going to college. We learned about our college options because the school took us on lots of trips sponsored by the company. We did college tours during the winter break, Thanksgiving, and summer. We visited colleges all over California, and on Fridays we wore college t-shirts to celebrate college.

I visited all of the UC campuses except for two, most of the state colleges, and some private schools.

Guadalupe and Anteaters. Having fun at UCI.
Guadalupe and Anteaters. Having fun at UCI.

I chose UCI because I liked the environment and the structure of the school. Everything is in a circle. I thought to myself, it will be easy to find my way here. I just completed my first quarter at UCI. I have passed all my classes and done well. I was able to manage my time and handle the heavy course load. Right now, I’m thinking of majoring in Economics and Political Science. I’m also considering some type of government job, but I’m not sure. I’m still exploring.

Having Fun at a Summer Event-UCI
Having Fun at a Summer Event-UCI

There is a small group at UCI from Delano, including my roommate. Whenever we get a break from school, we meet up with other friends in LA and take the train back home. In a 3-5 hour train ride we are back in Delano. My mother gets so excited when I come home. She picks me up at the train station and she always loves to see me.

Home Sweet Home
Home Sweet Home

The first time I came home, everything seemed different. People were tatted up. The hair colors were different, they even dressed and spoke differently. And at the same time, I felt like I was back home like I had never left. My friends and I, we continue to hang out.

I made the right decision choosing UCI. But sometimes I get homesick.  I’m studying to have a great profession someday, but more importantly, to help my parents so that they don’t have to work this hard the rest of their lives. They have made incredible sacrifices for their daughters. Soon, it will be my turn to give back.

In the meantime, my mother and father will work the land. I will study hard, looking forward to breaks when I will get to board the train and head home.  What awaits me in Delano is home, family, love and delicious posole.

Homemade Posole
Homemade Posole made by Graciela and devoured by her family.

 

 

 

 

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What are the Challenges facing Foster Youth after Emancipation in California? Housing, Mental Health and Education Are Critical Needs

“Given what we experience in foster care, it’s hard to trust people. What we need is the same someone to push us in the right direction year after year until we finish school and get a job.” — Youth in Foster Care

Each year, tens of thousands of children in communities across California are removed from their homes and placed in the foster-care system with the goal of finding a safe and permanent home for each child, either through reunification with the child’s family (after the family has met certain conditions), through adoption, or through placement with a permanent legal guardian. While these children are in the foster-care system, the state assumes legal responsibility for their health and safety.

According to The Transitional Housing Placement Plus, THP-Plus, a program created by the California State Legislature in 2001 that provides affordable Housing and Supportive Services to Youth Transitioning from California’s Foster Care and Juvenile Probation System, foster youth comprise an alarming rate of the homeless population in California.

In 2014-15 more than 1 in 4 youth (28%) entered THP-Plus directly from homelessness.

THP-Plus, a Statewide Implementation Project published by The John Burton Foundation for Children Without Homes recently released the FOSTER CARE Annual Report 2014-2015. Following is a summary of its major findings for Fiscal Year (FY) 2014-15.

 

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 “I bounced around a lot of schools and never got comfortable being there. Since I knew that I’d be at a school for just a little bit, I felt like I didn’t need to care about my studies.” — Student in foster care

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EDUCATION-Foster Youth-Academically At Risk

California is committed to providing high-quality public education for all students. Yet, until recently, reform efforts rarely acknowledged a group of students who persistently underperform: students in foster care.

California has had little statewide information about the education of school-aged children and youth who are in the foster-care system and for whom the state is legally responsible.

This is largely due to challenges related to the availability, collection, and sharing of information about these students across the education and child welfare systems.

As a result, the education needs of these students have often gone unrecognized and unmet—leaving many of them trailing their classmates in academic achievement.

Students in foster care are especially at risk for school failure, as evidenced by poor grades and high rates of absenteeism, grade retention, disciplinary referrals, and dropping out of high school.

California is now setting out to track the academic progress of students in foster care—the first state in the nation to do so.

Thus, the findings reported below are especially timely. California students in foster care have unique characteristics that justify their identification as a separate at-risk student subgroup and that this subgroup has a significant achievement gap compared to the other student groups.

  • Students in foster care were 3 times more likely to be African American
  • Are classified with a disability at twice the rate of the comparison groups
  • Are 5 times more likely to be classified with an emotional disturbance than other students.
  • Are older for their grade level
  • Had higher rates of enrollment in grades 9, 10, or 11 than the comparison groups, a likely outcome of grade retention and a risk factor for dropping out.
  • Are more likely than other students to change schools during the school year. Suffer much higher rates of school mobility than other students.
  • Are more likely than other students to be enrolled in nontraditional public schools. Enrollment in these schools suggests that students were unsuccessful at traditional schools and, thus, were transferred to other schools.
  • Are more likely than the general population of students to be enrolled in the lowest-performing schools.
  • High school students in foster care had the highest dropout rate and lowest graduation rate. Reducing dropout rates and boosting high school graduation rates are state education priorities. To be on track to graduate from a California public high school, students are required to pass both the English language arts and mathematics parts of the California the graduation rate for all grade-12 students statewide was 84 percent, but for students in foster care, it was just 58 percent—the lowest rate among the at-risk student groups.

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 “When I was in elementary and middle school, I was switched around a lot. I didn’t leave those schools with teachers or kids I knew. Then, for the first time, I was in high school for four years and made friends. Really, it was the teachers who helped me the most. They showed me that I can finish homework, get good grades, go to college, and have a future.” — Student in foster care

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“In foster care we live with the unknown—about where we will be living or going to school or what will next happen in our lives. We often get punished for behaving in ways that are reactive to the unknown. Instead of addressing the real issues, at school we are just treated as troublemakers.” — Student in foster care

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“I was in a living situation where school wasn’t a priority. There was no time or place to do homework except after my caregiver went to sleep. There was no one in my life who wanted me to make it through school except a few teachers who talked to me and helped me graduate and go to college.” — Student in foster care

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 “My life was chaotic all the time and so was my school experience. I changed schools a lot. I made and lost friends. I didn’t try in classes I knew I wouldn’t finish. I got in trouble to get attention. Then after a while in high school I turned it around because I wanted a better life, and there were a few teachers who cared enough to help me pass and get a diploma.” — Student in foster care

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“No one knew why I messed up in school. No one was there to help me be successful in school. No one told me to stay in school. No one cared when I stopped going.” — Student in foster care

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Housing: A Critical Post-Emancipation Need–What type of Housing is Available to Help Emancipated Foster Youth?

 

The housing program provides emancipated youth with two years affordable housing assistance. A year is extended for those in college. However, most youth exit THP Plus without strengthening their capacity to achieve long-term economic stability.

Given the number of parenting youth and youth with disabilities exiting the housing programs many will need ongoing housing assistance in the form of permanent, affordable housing.

The Challenge: Accessing permanent, affordable housing is often seen as an “extra” rather than a requirement.

Remote-sites:

Of 1,436 youth placed on July 1, 2015, the most common housing model was remote-site housing. In this model, participants live in individual rental units leased by the THP provider.

In FY 2014-15, remote site accounted for 80 percent of all housing sites. The second most common was the staffed housing model (19%), followed by the host family model (1%)

What does it cost to provide Emancipated Youth with Affordable Housing in California?

THP-Plus costs per youth 2013-14.

During fiscal year 2014-15, monthly rate was:

  • $2,457 for a single-site housing model
  • $2,300 for a scattered-site model
  • $1,892 for a host-family model.

EMANCIPATED FOSTER WOMEN –Young Foster Women with Children: The Struggle to Meet the Unique Needs of Parenting Youths.

Almost half of young women served by the housing program for foster emancipated youth are custodial parents. Many of them become parents while living in THP-Plus. The main public benefits received by the women include CalWORKs, Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and the nutrition program, Women, Infant and Children (WIC).

Specific issues:

  • Securing child care
  • Ensuring the safety and wellbeing of the participant’s child
  • Additional cost associated with providing a parenting youth with an adequately sized apartment
  • Challenge of repeat pregnancy
  • Parenting youth’s partner’s related problems:
    • intimate partner violence
    • collection of child support.

Lack of Childcare-A Barrier to Employment and Education:

  • The vast majority of children are living with their mothers.
  • Roughly 1 in 3 young women in THP are a custodial parent.
  • Lack of child care is a barrier to employment and education.
  • Almost none are able to access child care due to the high level of demand among low-income families in the community.
  • Infant supplements are unevenly administered.
    • All custodial parents placed in THP are eligible for a $411 infant supplement. However, interviews with providers and counties revealed that the infant supplement is administered differently across the state.
    • Some providers keep the infant supplement, with the rationale that custodial parents require a lower staffing ratio and larger units. Other providers pass the full $411 through to the parenting youth.

EMANCIPATED FOSTER YOUTH AND COLLEGE ACCESS


How Does THP PLUS Participation affect Foster Youth College Enrollment?

According to the latest report, only 1 in 5 participants are enrolled in college.

  • While staying in housing, participants make gains in employment and earnings, but struggle with enrolling or remaining in post-secondary education.
  • At the entry of THP Plus, 72 percent had graduated from high school or had earned their General Equivalency Degree (GED).
  • A total of 21 percent of youth were enrolled in community college. However, at the exit, just 22 percent were still enrolled in post-secondary education.
  • In 2014, the California State Legislature changed the eligibility criteria for THP-Plus, allowing a youth who is enrolled in school to stay in the housing program for 36 months instead of 24 months (Senate Bill 1252).

Challenges in Pursuing and Completing an Education:

Lack of preparation for college-level course work and youths’ preference to work affects college completion. Among all students with disabilities, students in foster care had by far the highest rate of emotional disturbance, which is a disability associated with difficulty maintaining relationships, inappropriate behaviors, and depression. These students were affected by attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and intellectual disabilities. The largest disability classification for students in foster care was specific learning disability (39 percent), an impairment associated with challenges related to thinking, reading, writing and/or calculating. Students in foster care were also about half as likely to be classified with a speech or language impairment or autism as the comparison groups.

EMANCIPATED FOSTER YOUTH AND SPECIAL NEEDS:

  • Many youth exiting THP-Plus have special needs.
  • Of youth who exited THP-Plus in 2014-15, 22 percent were identified by their THP-Plus provider as having a special need, defined by the program as a serious physical or mental disability such as a mental illness, intellectual disability, cognitive impairment, or chronic health issue.
  • As of July 1, 2014, 17 percent of THP-Plus participants reported that they did not have health insurance, despite their eligibility for Medi-Cal to age 26 under the federal Affordable Care Act.

Foster Youth and Mental Health Needs: How does Emancipation affect care?

Providers and counties are challenged to provide youth with mental health needs.

The inability to provide therapeutic services required to safely house youth with serious mental illness prevented many youth from being placed into housing programs.

When Affordable Housing and Mental Health Services End

At age 21, specialized mental health services for children end. In a survey of county representatives, this challenge was identified as the greatest area of concern.

What’s Being Done to Support Transition into Self Sufficiency:

Students exiting the foster care system are in critical need of academic coaching, financial aid counseling and pathways to career and technical education programs. A greater effort is needed to prevent first and repeat pregnancies for young emancipated foster mothers. Providers and counties must deepen knowledge and capacity to help youth secure permanent, affordable housing post-program. The findings in this report serve as new evidence for policymakers to use in continuing efforts to improve the academic success of students in foster care. Building the knowledge and organizational capacity to help youth transitioning from both programs in accessing affordable housing will ensure that parenting youth and youth with disabilities have the long-term housing support that they often require.

Love and Support from caring volunteers are greatly needed. If you have a little time to spare and a big heart, consider giving an hour of your time weekly to organizations like School on Wheels, where volunteers meet with foster youths to help them with their homework. There are also organizations like, CASA, For many abused children, CASA volunteers are the one constant adult presence in their lives.

A Word From Social Workers:

“Remarkably, some of these same students ‘make it’ anyway. They do well in school, graduate and head off to college. Nothing makes me happier than hearing from someone who was in the foster-care system and, despite all the challenges, went on to earn a college degree and get a good job. Just imagine how much more often this would happen if all of our systems—whether in education or child welfare—worked together to understand and address the unique needs of these students.” — School Social Worker

Part-Time Workers and the Unemployed Are Alike Financially, According to Gallup Healthway Index.

According to the U.S. federal government, someone working as little as a few hours a week is considered employed, yet their financial well-being is similar to a person who does not have a job.

Part-time workers experience as much food and healthcare insecurity as the unemployed, according to research by the Gallup Healthways Well-Being index. Data collected daily from January through September 2015 by the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index, defined financial well-being based on these premises:

  • Ability to afford food and healthcare
  • Having enough money to do everything they want to do
  • Frequency of worry about money in the previous week
  • Perceptions of their standard of living compared with those they spend time with.

Food and Healthcare Insecurity High among Part-Time Workers

Those who work part-time but are looking for full-time work are nearly as likely as the unemployed — about three in 10 in each group — to report having lacked enough money for food or healthcare/medicine at least once in the prior 12 months. In contrast, only about 12% of their full-time employed counterparts share similar challenges, reports Dan Witters. 

Working Part time and Gender

How Food Security and Insecurity is Measured.  

According to the USDA, the food security status of each household is divided into four ranges,as follows:

  1. High food securityHouseholds with no problems, or anxiety about, consistently accessing adequate food.
  2. Marginal food security—Households that have experienced problems at times, or anxiety about, accessing adequate food, but the quality, variety, and quantity of their food intake were not substantially reduced.
  3. Low food security—Households that experienced reduction in the quality, variety, and desirability of their diets, but the quantity of food intake and normal eating patterns were not substantially disrupted.
  4. Very low food security—At times during the year, eating patterns of one or more household members were disrupted and food intake reduced because the household lacked money and other resources for food.

How the Growth of the Gig Economy affects Workers 

The United States economy is transitioning into an Uber economy, with tens of millions of Americans involved in some form of freelancing, contracting, temping or outsourcing, writes Noam Scheiber of the New York Times.

These shifts are affecting how middle-class America was built, states Scheiber, along with other changes, like declining unionization and advancing globalization. As incomes stagnate, Americans remain anxious about their economic well-being, years after the Great Recession.

There are More Part Time Workers Looking For Full-Time Jobs 

There is a sharp rise in the number of jobs available; however, these numbers are not matched by the number of part time workers who want them. In fact, employment reports show a rise in the number of part-time workers who prefer full-time jobs. The total jumped by 275,000 to 7.5 million, the Labor Department states Paul Davidson for USA Today.

Healthcare Insecurity

The Affordable Care Act requires firms with at least 50 employees to provide them with health insurance to those working at least 30 hours, which has led some businesses to hire more part-time workers.

Millenials Face Uncertain Future with Patchwork of Part Time Employment 

Forty percent of Millenials are underemployed — working part-time jobs, contract jobs, temp jobs, or one-time gigs. They do everything from waitressing, to online marketing, to freelance journalism and are not purchasing big-ticket items, like buying cars, apartments or houses. Most can’t even think of saving for retirement, reports Sarah Gardner who has been tracking young part-timers for Marketplace’s ‘Consumed‘ series.

Part-time, contract and freelance gigs are on the rise in the U.S. economy. In fact, according to the American Staffing Association, over 40 percent more people have temp jobs now than in 2009; and many college-educated 20-somethings are working them.

Underemployment and The Adjunct Crisis:

the Part-Time crisis affects everyone. Below, is an excerpt from Jrshoskins’s blog on the Adjunct Crisis:

First, coffee. Then, file for unemployment, the absurd moment, dreaded…a vision of the dead end. How many times have I applied? 40? 50? Who’s counting? It’s just part of the “job.” Once the tentative agreement expires, and I have no reasonable assurance of being rehired, I am unemployed. The shame. It is absurd…I must embrace the absurdity, stifle the nausea and…collect the pittance I am due, which I have earned already. Seemingly, in some meager attempt to compensate for the inequity of my pay (to make it ok?), a California court awarded me and my adjuncts across the state the right to file for and receive unemployment wages, once the semester ends and the tentative agreement expires.

Breakfast.

Then what? Oh, to work. Final compositions of introductory and advanced students, lengthy, researched tomes, about 5 dozen to evaluate. And calculate and assign a grade for each student. One sent me a paper on Google docs. Some requested that I make comments on their papers. Shall I take odds on how many will return next fall for their comments? How closely should I mark them? What wisdom might I impart to my erstwhile students, at this moment, after the tentative agreement has expired?

Ah, the absurdity. I must embrace it, and take the pittance, for the lean times ahead.

And now, to work.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Celebrating National Entrepreneurs’ Day-Entrepreneurial Spirit Remains Strong in the U.S.

Small Businesses On The Rise

On November 3rd, 2015, Rep. Steve Chabot [R] from Ohio proposed RES. 511, a bill expressing support for designation of the third Tuesday in November as National Entrepreneurs’ Day.

Below I share highlights of the text. Also included, are charts and maps from various reputable sources that underscore the immense contributions of small business owners to the economic fabric of the United States. Continue reading “Celebrating National Entrepreneurs’ Day-Entrepreneurial Spirit Remains Strong in the U.S.”

I Want To Learn

We go to school every day to prepare for the future, but many students like you and me aren’t graduating high school with the skills and experience we need to accomplish our dreams. We want to learn, but we face real challenges in our schools and in our communities that make it difficult for us to attend college or succeed in our first job.” #QuieroAprender movement

Continue reading “I Want To Learn”

How Do You Know You Are On The Right Path?

 

How Do You Know What Dream, and What Job Belongs To You? 

Here’s a Clue: “You are Not in a Position to Betray Yourself,” states spiritual leader and teacher, Carolyn Myss, in a sit down with Oprah Winfrey for her series, Super Soul Sundays. 

Continue reading “How Do You Know You Are On The Right Path?”

Does a Liberal Arts Education Help or Hurt Entrepreneurs?

The market is definitely down on liberal arts majors, and I don’t understand why. For business owners looking for an intelligent and quick-thinking employee, an investment in an art historian or anthropologist might give you a better ROI than some hot-shot MBA,” states Carey Smith, contributor for Inc. magazine and founder of Big Ass Fans.

Continue reading “Does a Liberal Arts Education Help or Hurt Entrepreneurs?”