Every harvest time, farmers all over Oregon must bring on extra employees. Back in June, I looked over many applications — whether it was a college student on summer break, a teacher wanting to earn extra cash, or someone who was looking for temporary employment. This year, one application caught my eye.

A 16-year-old young man applied to drive a tractor for us. He wanted to get a head start on learning skills, explore work he may want to pursue in the future, and be able to add to his resume. He had experience driving equipment around his home. However, with strict hour limits and reporting requirements, it made hiring him more expensive and difficult. He had a driver’s license, completed Drivers’ Ed, completed tractor-safety training, but still couldn’t drive a service pick-up on the road.

There are advantages to cutting down on these regulations.

We often hear about the “skills gap” or how technical and trade businesses are having a difficult time finding employees with the right skills and experience. Our schools have failed our kids by not providing this education they once did. Private businesses, like me, want to pick up some of this slack, only if the laws would allow us. I would love to hire more kids like this young man, but he automatically went to the bottom of my list because of excessive reporting paperwork, multiple job restrictions and strict hour limits.

I think we need to allow our teenagers who want to work and want to gain experience to do that. By giving our “kids” work experience early in life, it not only allows them to develop a strong work ethic, but also sets them up for future success.

Shelly Boshart Davis

Albany (Sept. 18)

Editor's note: Davis is a candidate for the Oregon House Dist. 15 seat currently held by Andy Olson.

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