Submitted by Jeff Buster on Fri, 02/17/2006 - 12:23.

 When is the last time you saw a job application like this?




We are an

Unequal Opportunity Employer


Prerequisites:  No experience required - but must have evidence of felony criminal record, drug use/dependence, alcoholism, slight mental illness or slight antisocial demeanor, poor attendance, poor hygiene, workman’s compensation claims, or some other reason no legitimate profit oriented liability shy business would hire you. (still debating whether or not a name needs to be provided.  Some may need to work anonymously).


Concealed Carry:  Sorry, no weapons allowed on job site. Everyone must pass through the mobile metal detector before beginning work. Please hide your weapon off the jobsite before you arrive.  If you must bring weapons – or drugs or drink - to work, you must check them in our locker system which is located in the outside wall of the “chuck wagon”.   You will get the key to the locker – similar to a bus depot locker system.


Salary:  About minimum wage – which when possible will have a  small piece work component.  The piece work will be available when the job is conducive to such a scheme.  For example, if we are cleaning bricks from a building take down,  you will be paid a per brick rate.   Pay will be in cash paid daily.   Or, you can opt to receive you pay weekly and receive a 10% premium.  You may opt to have your pay directly deposited.  We are open to consideration of other innovative pay arrangements.      


Benefits:  No Benefits.  No holidays, no vacation, no sick time, no personal time, no pension, no expense account, no car.  Rapid transit day pass to return to work second day, etc. Chuck wagon will provide free coffee/bagels and a hot meal at lunch.  Medical van/social worker will be available daily.  Cloth cloves and protective eyewear provided. We will strive to provide each and everyone with a sense that they accomplished something of value each day.


Advancement:  Make my day.  We will be constantly on the look out for individuals who are reliable and can do more.  We will be looking for inventory control (brick piece work counters who don’t cheat) cooks and crew for the chuck wagon, instructors to teach the newcomers,  crew forepersons, scouts looking for new job opportunities, you name it. But our ultimate goal is to get you out of the program completely – but then again, maybe into management and expansion of the program.


What you do for us:  We are a non-profit public works job corps similar to the WPA or the CCC (job corps back in the US depression days). You will be helping rebuild Cleveland by cleaning used bricks, planting hedges, fixing cracked sidewalks, picking up trash, painting, splitting firewood, repairing pallets, hoeing weeds, raking leaves, and other outside light  labor jobs.  Work will be at ground level, there will be no climbing,  no use of ladders, no power tools or engine driven equipment.  Every job we do will be done the hard way – the old fashioned way – by hand.  Any products (like cleaned brick) will be sold on the open market or used in public projects. Money received will be used to supplement operational funds.


What we do for you:  We provide on-demand walk-on employment for anyone – men and women - in any condition.  If you can physically get onto the job site, we will occupy you doing some menial task.  If you are physically weak we will strive to get you a chore which is less tasking – if you are a young healthy bull, you’ll get a heavier hammer.  We are trying to take you off the street and give you a little self esteem boost and a little money.  We are not kidding ourselves about what our success rate will be.


Work environment:  All work will be outdoors at all times – winter summer spring and fall.  Dress appropriately.  Days with blazing hot sun, really rainy or windy,  we’ll put up sheltering tarps (open sided) over/next to our work area.   Portable toilets will be on site. In the winter months we will have a nice hot wood stove on site.  Think of it as working at a camp site in the city. Although employees will not be put in an interior environment, they may often be working in the public view. Work crews will generally avoid residential areas and concentrate in commercial and industrial areas.   A civil public demeanor will be required.  If you are laying down drunk or too high, or urinating in public – you will be cautioned, your further pay suspended, and you will be discouraged from the job site. With regard to cell phone use on work site – if you can afford to keep a cell phone service, you probably aren’t our typical hire.



Liability/workman’s compensation:  This is a societal “chicken and egg” thing.  If we base employment eligibility on being clean of drug/alcohol, we will not be able to engage the employees in the labor niche we are after.   This will lead to that niche remaining underground, off the labor statistics radar, and more apt to be in black market and illegal income activities.  It is our intention to employ the conventionally “ineligible” in a sincere effort to allow those people to transition into the conventional job market.  We are trying to employ one part of society which isn’t usually eligible for employment at all. But we don’t want to be  vulnerable to lawsuits because of our unconventional approach. Because we do no drug testing or alcohol testing prior to employment, the employer needs to be shielded from   accident liability related to drugs or alcohol etc.  Therefore, you agree that any accident you have on the job will be reported immediately, and that upon such report you will take a blood test immediately.  If the test shows a compromised physical condition, you agree to waive workman’s compensation and any other action against the employer.  For our part, we will diligently take all reasonable actions to maintain your safety on the job.  We are seeking statewide legislative protections for this scheme.  These protections can be similar to those liability shields which states (Massachusetts has such legislation) provide to doctors, nurses, and good Samaritans and others who willingly expose themselves to liability while volunteering at a crash scene, or in a emergency. 


Web Site:  All employees are eligible (but are not required) to have their photo and any personal information they wish to include posted on the company’s web site.  .  If you wish,  each employee’s work record – attendance, production, job skills, will be posted.  This is important because if you wish to seek another job at a later time – anywhere in the world, the web site will confirm to your prospective new employer your record with us.


Using donated PCs located in weather resistant niches in the outside of the chuck wagon, on site training will be provided to teach you how to access and use the internet. We will have a wifi cloud operated from satellite connected internet because we want to encourage the hip public to also use the chuck wagon for coffee and lunch (they will pay) and intermingle with our employees to see how the other half is living.  We intend for intermingling with the public to help improve esprit décor all around. We will have a wifi cloud operated from satellite connected internet


All financial records of the company will be public and on the web site.  A record of daily activities of the company will be posted for viewing by anyone.


Time Clock:  All employees will be paid from their time card  record. (maybe we will use an electronic palm scan to clock in and out so there will not be cheating.  You can clock in and out anytime you want, but when you are “on the clock” you will be expected to be working.  If we get the impression that you have clocked in and aren’t taking work seriously, we will discourage you from returning. This is an opportunity to produce, not an opportunity to milk the system. If you don’t think you are being paid enough, go get another job which you find does.


Work-green ethic:    Whenever possible,  solar panels on the “chuck wagon” will be used to charge battery operated radio, lighting or hand tools (like Makita – which will be cabled down so it can’t be stolen).  We will also have a small wind turbine on the Chuck Wagon just for show, because generally we will want to park the chuck wagon out of the wind. 


Certain weight intensive tasks (like loading a wheelbarrow full of bricks up onto a truck bed or into a dumpster) will use solar powered winches or lifting contraptions.  These will be operated only by approved personnel.   



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brilliant and well written to boot!

it would seem the major hurdles would be legal.

genius - employing the unemployable to perform infrastructure repair and beautification work that our fair city sorely needs completed.
I once floated a similar idea employing teens that were not interested in being lectured to all day, but i like your idea better - less legal hassles, i think.
keep me updated.

Update: ON DEMAND WORK Corps

 I have a very well educated, informed good friend with whom I was having a discussion recently when the battery in my phone ran out of energy.   My friend got back to me in an email which I have copied  (below) in an anonimized  form - how many people out there have a similar view to  how my friend feels about bums, beggars and pan handlers?


Jeff:  Yeah, I assumed your phone died.  I did read your manifesto.  Here in (Anytown, USA), there's something called the (name of) Project, which recruits screwed-up vets, ex-cons, recovering alcoholics and drug addicts towards rehabilitation through hard work. The guys who desperately want to work hang out at Home Depot.  The guys who don't hang out in the median strips, looking as scruffy as possible, with a sob-story corrugated cardboard sign.  Maybe it's urban legend, but some of them are pretty sophisticated, and can earn up to 100k tax-free by begging.  I am assured by (name) that this is culturally unacceptable in Mexico, and that there are very few homeless people there, although at the border crossings you can always find colorfully dressed indigenous young girls from Oaxaca, babies carried in papooses, peddling chicle.  Also various blind and maimed people, the traditional beggars.  In (local suburb), you'll find sitting on the sidewalk panhandling young runaways, too listless to even stand up and beg properly.  In (love interest’s) company, I can be big-hearted, to look like a kind person, but otherwise I totally ignore beggars.  They don't want a job, and in most cases they don't even want food, just money to buy their poison of choice.  Giving to them simply enables them.  Symptomatic of a general cultural breakdown, in which the concepts of shame and personal pride are becoming obsolete.  Way too complicated a problem for me to spend any energy on, since here and elsewhere there are plenty of homeless advocates who've made it their life mission to address this problem.  (signed, Jeff’s friend)   

deconstruction r us

You go Jeff! You know I'm with you on this idea. The Green Building Coalition should be interested in this, no?

So Jeff, are you going to go for this?

I believe you told me you are seriously interested to do this and personally oversee it. Still interested?

Help me define how this benefits the Lead eradication initiative and/or East Cleveland and I can help you find lots of support to get the work started. 

jeff when are you coming to Cleveland?

I know the work for you right now is in Boston, but this is a great idea. We need you and Martha to get busy with this new nonprofit right here in Cleveland. You have got the mission vision, goals and objectives already written for your initial funding applications to our community foundations and corporations. Norm can help you to get started, and I'm sure the City Mission and the many shelters and halfway houses/re-entry programs would be delighted to post your notice.

In a few years when this new nonprofit grows affiliates in other struggling cities, you can find someplace warm to set up a new affiliate. But get your plan together for Cleveland now. It will be spring here soon and many warm days will follow...

Let me know if there is anything I can do to help. 

Eradicating lead means 1,000s of fix-ups or tear-downs

I know over the next four years we are going to fight a full-out war against lead poison, which means fixing up of tearing down a huge percentage of our urban and inner ring housing, commercial, daycare and public building stock - everything built before the late 1970's has lead. There are three ways to attack - tear down (must take care to dispose/recycle materials properly), replace/hide (e.g. take out old windows and replace with vinyl, etc), or repair, contain and maintain.


Regardless of which is chosen, all are labor intensive and a little bit of training and knowledge is required. The training is available at no cost from the government. I strongly recommend you focus your crew on dealing with this issue - I can connect you with al the right people and you will be greatly appreciated. And you won't need to fight for funding - you'll work with a sub-committee of everyone you need. I also recommend you look to start and pilot - base operations to some extent - in East Cleveland. Million reasons why, which I'll explain when we get to that stage.


So yes, Jeff, when are you getting back to C'land? 

osha / rcra support available for lead issues

At least a few of you know about my day job.  We eat regulatory hurdles like these for breakfast.  seriously the paperwork on the the safety and osha side of things for lead abatment is techy and the regs are deep.. but it would not be a problem for my employer (an enviro, health, and safety consultancy) to handle, manage, certify, etc. 


We do initial site assessment, superfund work, asbestos, pollution abatement err I mean they do.  My career is focused on the other end of the pipe.. ie preventing pollution.  Unfortunatly clients need help with both.


Should this project need solid OSHA assistance, assistance with RCRA (disposing of lead waste), labeling, shipping / transport (DOT) and sampling for lead.. as I said.. let me know.  Getting the lead out is a great project and I am farily they can work a deal below our usual labor rates etc.   Plus it sounds like fun field work.  Moon suits, sampling, woo hoo!    I have moon suits in 4 flavors in my ready bag.


I need to get schooled on lead certified contractor managment, and lead project managment. 

Vinyl Windows!?

"(e.g. take out old windows and replace with vinyl, etc)"   I am sure it was a typo considering your pvc post earlier.  ha haaa your on record now buddy.

Vinyl windows is what they do.. what else?

Unfortunately, the most common remediation for household lead contamination is replacing the windows (where lots of lead dust is created), and these days that means taking often solid but poorly maintained wood frame windows out (and I'm sure they get landfilled, putting the lead in the ground), and they put in viny windows, which I suppose is the lowest cost, longest life-cycle alternative. I'm into historic preservation so I'm not into this solution, but I understand what matters is making houses safe for residents.


All that said, Greater Cleveland has one of the nation's most progressive community-wide lead eradication initiatives in the country and the council leading this is receptive to input from anoyone. So I will connect anyone interested to help deal with the lead issue with the people who are addressing the problem, and we can all work together. More to follow....


It is a very humane idea.  There is a flaw in its application however.  I have worked with day laborers culled from the populations suggested in the article.  Some are motivated to do well, others look for a place to hide.  ALL need strong supervision and training.  The paradox is that, in the begining, you spend more time supervising and training a new hire than you get back in productive labor.  All of the jobsite tasks mentioned above, while they appear simple, require a worker to pay attention and care about what they are doing and how that fits in with the overall project, otherwise it's a disaster. 

We must find a way to heal/salvage/empower these people and help teach them how to work, how to have pride in your work and by extension yourself no matter how seemingly small or unimportant the job is.  This won't be accomplished by turning them loose on a jobsite half baked. 



Not for profit

Hello Paul,

Thank you for your feedback.  I have had years of actual construction site labor experience, but I have no experience with the potential ON- Demand laborers that need the work here in Cleveland.  So I appreciate your insights. 

I see the societal profit from such a venture in the deferred/avoided costs of vandalism, theft, police and judicial intervention, and in training and improvement of morale. 

If you have experience in this area, I would appreciate meeting with you in the near future. thanks,  jeff