UCLA Labor Center

Two New Releases: Report and Supplementary Curriculum on Young Workers

Young Workers in California: A Snapshot

Young workers are a critical part of California’s economy, the fifth-largest in the world. Workers between the ages of 18-29 make up a quarter of all workers in the state. From participating in campaigns to increase the minimum wage to $15 to reinvigorating the labor movement, young Californians represent an important force in shaping current public debates around the future of work; student debt; access to safe, quality schools; immigration reform; and affordable housing. 

Young Workers in California: A Snapshot builds from a series of UCLA Labor Center studies that capture the experiences of young people in the workplace. Contrary to popular narratives about youth working to earn pocket money for leisure items, these studies found that the vast majority in Los Angeles County work to support their families, pay for school, and cover basic needs. They face erratic scheduling practices that make it difficult to balance work with school, family, and other individual needs. Additionally, they encounter serious work issues including wage theft, harassment, and a lack of a career ladder. 

This report broadens the scope of our previous research by analyzing the state of young workers throughout California, with a focus on the industries in which they are concentrated: retail, food services, health care, social assistance, education, administrative and office work, the sciences, and technology. 


The I am a #YOUNGWORKER Multimedia Project

The UCLA Labor Center produced an animated short film, I am a #YoungWorker, which depicts the everyday struggles and hopes of young workers and is a part of a larger multimedia project.

Our new workshop and classroom guide is designed for teachers, organizers, trainers, and educators to facilitate interactive activities and group discussions to unpack the various themes within the I am a #YoungWorker animated short film. 



Relevant Links
2015 Young Workers in Los Angeles: A Snapshot
2016 Juggling Time: Young Workers and Scheduling Practices in the Los Angeles County Service Sector
I am a #YoungWorker Animated Film
Project Stories