Employer/Worksite Supervisor Role

Employer and Worksite Supervisor

The employer’s and worksite supervisor’s responsibilities include:

  • Follow all federal and state child labor laws.
  • Provide worker’s compensation for the student for all paid hours worked (for paid experiences).
  • Pay at least the state minimum wage for hours worked by the student (for paid experiences) unless student qualifies for an exception to the minimum wage laws in which case documentation must be completed and on file.
  • Sign and implement the Individual Training Agreement and Training Plan.
  • Provide instruction in the competencies identified in the curriculum and document the student’s progress.
  • Conduct progress reviews with the student (which may include parent, guardian and school personnel) and provide copies of those reviews to the school.
  • Treat a student as a regular employee.
  • Ensure that no student is excluded from participation in the program on the basis of race, color, creed, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, or marital status, in regard to public assistance or any other protected groups under state, federal or local Equal Opportunity Laws.
  • Protect a student from sexual harassment.
  • Provide a student with safety training, safe equipment, and a safe and healthful workplace that conforms to all health and safety standards of federal and state law (including the Fair Labor Standards Act, OSHA, and MN Child Labor Laws).
  • Properly train a student on the safe operation of any equipment prior to use.

Employer/Supervisor and Student Relationship

The role of the employer/supervisor in any work-based learning experience is a very important one. The experience may be a young person’s first exposure to a workplace that may seem very foreign to him or her. Also, it may be the first time an employee has had contact with a student in a workplace setting.

The employer/supervisor has a lot of expertise to share and will guide the young person in learning both technical and core employability skills competencies. A work-based learning experience can be very rewarding for both the student and the adult.

Following are some basic strategies the employer/supervisor can use to have a meaningful experience with a student:

  1. Get to know the young person – Ask a student about their career dreams, goals, strengths, limits, and needs. This information will help the employer/supervisor identify what kinds of activities will be most beneficial to the student. For example, in a job shadowing experience where a young person has a general interest in a health career, they should spend time in a variety of departments within a health care facility.
  2. Emphasize safety and health at all times – Young people are often not aware of the dangers in the workplace, and will need instruction in general safety rules, machine safety and required health precautions. Frequent reminders to the student are important to their health and well-being.
  3. Provide opportunities for the student to make some decisions regarding the work-based learning experience – A student’s level of involvement may be increased through allowing the young person to express their choices and interests. Learning to make informed decisions helps a student grow as an individual.
  4. Teach the student about workplace culture – As a new experience for a young person, they need to learn about the culture of the business/organization, such as the rules, customs and standards. An employer/supervisor can encourage a student’s curiosity through inviting questions and providing opportunities for exploration.
  5. Be a positive role model – A young person is easily influenced by what is occurring around them. As a role model, the employer/supervisor should use proper techniques and practices, including respectful language.
  6. Be clear with directions/instructions – Young people need to learn about the company/organization’s policies as soon as possible. A workplace orientation should be provided, preferably the first day of the experience. Directions and instructions for tasks or use of equipment need to be clear and straightforward. The information may need to be repeated. It is important to make sure the young person understands the “what” and “why”. If possible, allow them to work out the “how”. This can equip a young person with problem-solving skills and teach them to take responsibility for the outcomes of their actions. (An exception to the “how” is where there is an issue of student safety.)
  7. Provide information on careers to the young person – The work-based learning experience is an ideal opportunity for the student to understand the knowledge and skills necessary to pursue work in a particular career field. The employer/supervisor’s perspective will not only assist the young person to make an informed career choice but better understand the relevance and importance of education.

Additional Tips for Supervising Youth

  • Introduce the young person to other employees in the workplace;
  • Clearly explain the operations of the job and the functions of the organization;
  • Give the student clear job specifications, verbal and written;
  • Speak directly to the young person when giving instructions;
  • Give honest feedback;
  • If it appears the student needs help in finishing a task, ask if they need help, and if they do, ask how you can help;
  • Be a good listener;
  • If the young person displays inappropriate behavior, speak with them;
  • When possible, include the student in company-wide activities;
  • Be flexible and open-minded to new ways of doing things;
  • Be an example for job attitude, attendance, and performance; and
  • Remember the young person is not yet an adult but is working on becoming one.

General Characteristics of Young People

  • Students have a very strong need to feel respected. They usually will not listen to people who they perceive to be lecturing or “saving” them.
  • Fairness is an important value for students.
  • Some young people believe it is “cool” to be passive. This may appear as a lack of curiosity or engagement but in reality their interest level is high.
  • Young people are often “idealistic” even if their own situation may not be very positive.
  • Be aware that students may frequently surprise you.