March 2016, Part II

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March 2016, Part II

NATIONAL ROUNDUP

Fast Food Employers On The Tuition Assistance Fast Track.  U.S. News and World Report takes a look at the growing number of fast food restaurants helping employees gain access to higher education with tuition assistance programs in the March 8 story 4 Fast Food Jobs That Pay for College. The report details tuition assistance programs offered by McDonald’s, Chipotle Mexican Grill, Starbucks, and Pizza Hut, which also extends the benefit to immediate family members of employees.  According to reporter Farran Powell, “A $9-an-hour job flipping burgers or making coffee drinks can help some students pay for college. Many fast-food giants are now going beyond boosting wages to retain employees, enticing workers with tuition benefits.”

Culinary Arts Careers Catching On. Careers in the culinary arts are becoming very popular in the Kansas City region. A local FOX 4 news report profiles Kahlil Johnson, a student at the DeLaSalle Education Center which launched a ProStart culinary arts program in partnership with the National Restaurant Association and its local members. According to the news report, Outstanding culinary arts student is on the cutting edge of a promising career, culinary arts is a family tradition for Johnson. He chose to pursue the field because his stepfather, who passed away three years ago, cooked in a restaurant and said his chosen career is “honoring my stepdad.”

I’ll Have Eggs And Coffee, With A Side Of Politics. From endless cups of coffee and supplies for rally signs, to meet and greets at local restaurants, political campaigns bring a lot of economic activity when they come to town. In a March 8 op-ed in The Hill, National Restaurant Association Vice President of Government Affairs and Policy Cicely Simpson introduces their #RestaurantsDecide initiative and examines the role restaurants and their employees play on the campaign trail. In America’s restaurants, beyond the campaign photo op, Simpson highlights an Iowa restaurant which has hosted many candidates over the years writing: “Since 1939, thousands of Iowans from all walks of life have worked at Rastrelli’s, demonstrating firsthand the most important attribute of the restaurant industry: The opportunity and clear career path set forth for anyone willing to pursue it. Anyone can quite literally start out in an entry-level position and work her or his way to the top.”

One Size Fits All Not Always A Good Fit. National Public Radio affiliate WRVO Public Media reports on how non-profit organizations could be impacted by a minimum wage hike in New York, revealing the problem of a one size fits all policy. In What will nonprofits do if minimum wage goes up to $15?, reporter Ellen Abbott talks with the head of the Elmcrest Children’s Center in Central New York who estimates the state’s proposed wage hike would add $2 million a year to the operating budget stating: “I can run a $2 million deficit once, but I sure can’t run it very long, without going out of business.”

Oregon’s Restaurant Employees To Feel Impact Of New Wage. The Oregon economy could be facing new challenges after passing laws to raise the state minimum wage, Forbes columnist Tim Worstall finds in his March 3 column Oregon’s New Minimum Wage Will Cause Unemployment, Yes, Of Course. Worstall focuses on the “absence of jobs” not being created and who will be impacted most writing: “The effect will be largely in the restaurant trade (as that’s where 50% of minimum wage workers are, and some 50% of restaurant workers are on minimum wage) and among teens without high school diplomas and others already at the bottom of the economic pile (various minority teen groups for example).”

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