Spend a few minutes reading the news today and you’re bound to see stories about the crisis employers face in finding and retaining entry-level employees. Often, a part of the problem is that managers are not aware of the hurdles low-income, entry wage workers face and do not know how to offer a supportive and flexible environment where these employees can thrive. While retention difficulties in this sector of the job market are not new, they have been amplified by the pandemic, forcing businesses and employees to make extremely difficult choices. To counter these systemic challenges, Juma developed the Employer Training Series. We know that when frontline supervisors are well equipped with information on how to best manage entry wage employees, they can create a work environment that is supportive for employees and profitable for business.
The Employer Training Series draws on Juma’s three decades of experience employing and engaging youth who face significant barriers to being hired and retaining a job such as structural inequities, childcare needs, mental health challenges, and transportation access. For twenty-eight years, Juma has helped young people turn their struggles into strengths and found ways to help them succeed in the workplace while gaining confidence in themselves and creating long-term goals. Our experiences, approaches, and practices can inform how all employers think about and engage America’s workers during this time of change.
With funding from the Annie E. Casey Foundation, Juma created three training toolkits to support corporate employers to better supervise and manage diverse, young, entry-wage workers with barriers to workforce entry. Featuring Juma Staff and youth to help bring the content to life with tangible examples, the toolkits allow Juma to provide training to frontline supervisors using three training mediums: in-person on a worksite, in a classroom or webinar setting, and via self-directed online video.
The Employer Training Series focuses on three main topics: best practices in youth management to increase retention, retention barriers facing young, entry-wage workers, and power dynamics in the workplace. These three topics were selected based on Juma’s proven management techniques to provide frontline managers with the knowledge and skills to problem-solve and support employees. Employees who are succeeding in their jobs and feel supported stay longer, thereby developing longer work histories, becoming eligible to earn higher wages that will move them out of entry wage work into living wage work, and increasing the talent pool for employers looking to hire.
Ultimately, by creating this training series, Juma seeks to codify and share our internal best practices to amplify our ability to drive systemic change. We seek to bring our successful approach to frontline corporate management practices to create workplaces that are equitable, diverse, and inclusive. We believe that by giving frontline managers the tools they need to create fulfilling environments for entry wage employees, talent is retained, employees have a better chance to grow in their skills and work toward longer term goals, and businesses profit.