The Maine Department of Labor Rocks.
The following is a readers’s digest version of a true event. Every effort has been made to present the situation as it occurred, progressed and evolved into a rational resolution. Any errors or omissions are mine.
I recently experienced a well intentioned legislative black hole, a situation where common sense disappeared without an apparent trace. The situation is as follows. My company wanted to extend an offer of full time employment to a recent high school graduate. This candidate had completed a two-year technical program in a skilled trade. Only this skilled trade, welding, is on the hazardous occupation list–the list that prevents the hiring of anyone under the age of 18. Since this candidate doesn’t turn 18 until September, it would be illegal to hire him.
Enter the loophole. IF the candidate was in a government-approved apprentice program, he could be hired. To be in an approved apprentice program, he would have to be enrolled in school and have approval of his principal. Only, once you graduate, you are no longer enrolled in school. Unless you are in summer school. The only option as explained was to immediately implement an apprentice program. Game on, send me the application, I’ll fast track and ask for a several month provisional approval pending the candidate turning 18. After all, these things may take time.
Less than two hours later, the wormhole unexpectedly appears with a phone call from the director of the state bureau of labor standards. It seems as though state law is inconsistent with federal statue. State law is more restrictive. Federal law allows for the hiring of a candidate who has both graduated and completed skilled trade technical training. With rational documentation, an exception will be granted. Then, assurances were given, next legislative session, action will be taken to correct this unintended black hole.
The professionals involved in this situation include my HRGeneralist, the state labor inspector of the day, the state apprentice program specialist, and the director of the bureau of labor standards. The current governor has made it his mission to make state agencies more balanced, more business centric, without leaving the workforce behind. He has succeeded.
The candidate graduates this week and starts his career of full time employment on Monday.