By A. Hosack, K. Hecht, & P. Berman
I passed! I am not stupid!
The letter had finally come. Claire had received a score of 87% on the National Dental Hygienist Test! The Carsons were so proud of Claire. The letter had come at the perfect time, the week before the party. Now, they thought, Claire could relax and enjoy her party. On the outside, Claire’s life seems ready to take off like a rocket. What a success story she has! She is the first member of her family to graduate high school and now she is the first to attain a graduate degree and a license to practice. Her family has been living below the poverty line for generations. As a dental Hygienist, she and Davy should never go hungry or without a nice place to live.
In high school, Claire had always envied the people who come could in for burgers while she could only serve them. Once she had a job, Claire could afford to have other people serve her burgers. Searching for a job was scary. She had never searched for a job before. In high school, Larry had gotten her the waitress job; the only job she had ever had.
I don’t know what I am doing. Everyone else is way ahead of me. I am always losing!
Claire assumed all the other students already had jobs. She listened in sometimes, on their conversations and they sounded so confident. School had taught her a lot about doing her future job but hardly anything about how to get it. The only practical thing she had learned was how to write a resume. The Carsons weren’t sure what she should do either. They thought a good place to start was to look in the job advertisements in the local newspaper and online. They said she should probably send a letter along with her resume to all the jobs that were posted for hygienists.
Whenever she let them see how scared she was, they always reassured her that she had a great future. They loved her so much! It didn’t make any sense, but they did. Claire kept sitting at the computer staring off into space. What should she say in the letter? Mr. Carson suggested she ask one of her teachers.
How can I bother a teacher like that? They are done with me. I am about to graduate. They must have seen through me by now and seen what a waste of space I am. Most of the other students were probably worried about getting a job too. However, Claire is at an additional disadvantage. Her family’s history of poor employment means that she never could just soak in, “the process” of being successful, like many of her colleagues.
Many people don’t get the first, second, or even third job they apply for. She doesn’t know that. What do you say when they call on the phone asking to talk to you? What do you wear for an interview? The Improving Access to Good Jobs for Parents Act would help parents with low incomes as they go learn this process. This would include basic career counseling as well as provide intensive support to Claire as a new person entering the job market.
Have you ever been a political advocate? Consider supporting lower income individuals like Claire get employment help by telling your senator or representative to support this bill. By clicking on the link below, you can learn more about the “Improving Access to Good Jobs for Parents Act”, like many bills, it died in 2018. However, there is a new on-going attempt to get it passed: https://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/115/hr5888
You can click on the “write or call” button at the top left of the screen and within five minutes, have supported H.R. 5888 (115th)