California-based Meathead Movers hired 20-year-old James as an entry-level mover in 2008. His career began simply enough: assisting moving crews with loading and unloading furniture and other household items while juggling his academic and athletic career at California Polytechnic University, San Luis Obispo. Today, James, 25, is Meathead’s Operations Manager, earning 25 percent more than the household median income and managing 60-80 employees at any given time.
Helping young employees succeed is one of the most rewarding aspects of the job for the two brothers who founded Meathead Movers. In April 2012, Meathead Movers and its sister company, Princess Packers – motivated by their experiences with young employees like James – jumped at the President’s call to engage more young people in the workforce, signing on as official Summer Jobs+ partners. They focused on increased recruitment at local community colleges. In April 2013 – shortly after the President issued his Youth Jobs+ challenge – Meathead Movers pledged to offer paid employment and additional training to at least 100 more men and women ages 18 to 24. They not only already made that goal, but exceeded it, hiring 137 new employees.One of those new hires was Steve. Meathead Movers hired the 23-year old as an entry level mover, a position flexible enough for Steve to meet his commitment to the California National Guard and pursue a college degree. In only five months, Steve’s leadership skills and tireless work ethic earned him a promotion to Team Captain; he now earns $15.75 an hour leading his own moving crew. “Working at Meathead has made me more mature and more comfortable with taking on more responsibility than ever before," Steve said. "I’m evolving into myself and becoming more independent by not having to rely on my parents financially or emotionally for everything.”
Both James and Steve's stories illustrate the importance not only of providing young people summer jobs, but also of mentoring those young employees, developing their leadership skills and accommodating their academic schedules. “When I was hired back on as the operations manager, I was given a tremendous task—managing my peers,” James said. “Had it not been for my previous experience as a laborer for Meathead, I would not have the traction or perspective to effectively do so and would not be where I am today.”
Participating in the Summer Jobs+ Program has helped shape Meathead Movers as well. As part of answering the President’s challenge, Meathead overhauled its Appearance and Professionalism training to help all of its young employees build the confidence and skills to serve discerning clients, lessons from which employees reap benefits long after their job ends. Meathead also created a bi-monthly informal mentoring session at each of its regional locations, which allows newer employees to seek specific career guidance from their more experienced peers. With employees’ help, Meathead also has been able to establish a significant presence in its local community, including volunteering to assist victims of domestic violence and raising funds for CASA and the United Way. Thanks to its participation in Summer Jobs+, Meathead Movers is a much stronger company as it gears up to expand to a third site in early 2014, and is better equipped to hire and train more young men and women in the future.