California’s Rise in Minimum Wage: Unheard or Undeserved?

Here in the state of California, the minimum wage is currently fifteen dollars an hour and has been since 2016. In 2016 California was the first state to implement fifteen dollars as the minimum wage. This meant that companies or establishments with twenty-six employees or more would need to abide by fifteen dollars an hour. Now, starting January first of 2023 the minimum wage in California is going up to fifteen dollars and fifty cents an hour.

Mr. Ford, a Personal Finance teacher at Pleasant Valley High School, who also teaches work experience, commented that the rise is “good for the people that need to afford a living wage.” However, he went on to state that “it does increase the cost of everything else,” going on to explain that “places that pay their employees more, are going to charge more in prices and make prices go up for other people.” But he went on to reaffirm that “overall the rise in minimum wage is good.” Hitting home the never ending cause and effect cycle of our economy.

On the other hand, when Allison Hoska, a student at Pleasant Valley, an employee at the Viking Vault, was asked about the upcoming rise in minimum wage she confessed saying “I did not know about that.” This is the case with many students, employed and unemployed alike, who are not being updated on the ever changing circumstances surrounding minimum wage in the states, especially in our own state of California.

This does not go to show that the lack of knowledge thereby entails the rise in minimum wage is void of purpose. The change in minimum wage is due to inflation. Staying up to date with the position of minimum wage in one’s own state is especially essential when looking for a job as a high school student, especially when being introduced to having to pay taxes.

The first job is one that impacts significantly what is done going forward, and the amount of pay that is given influences lifestyle decisions. Mr. Ford stated as well as recommended that for students who are looking for jobs to “first is to talk to everyone you know, about half of high school students get hired because of who they know or who their parents know,” it is really important to make those connections and take advantage of such opportunities that are worth it in the long run.

He went on to advise that “the next most common type people use is,” a website that unemployed people can log into to get notifications about open jobs and opportunities to work in the area and what the position and pay is. It also helps send around resumes to jobs that are searching for good candidates and more staff.

The last opportunity he suggested was going around town and looking for”Help Wanted” signs and talking to friends and family who are employed that can give recommendations or advice about where jobs are looking for workers and where the pay is best.

State minimum wage is always going to fluctuate over time. It is how the economy works. Staying up to date on the minimum wage is critical to being an active participant in our country, and it affects everyone. Ask employed friends and family what their job circumstances are, look for opportunities and make those connections that will make a difference in the future. It is never too late or too early to start becoming informed and aware, so start now.