Opportunities for Teenagers at McDonalds

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Amitai Etzioni’s essay, does not have enough supporting evidence to prove that teenagers should not be working at fast. A lot of his references date back to the 1980’s and is not the most up to date information to rely upon. Currently, McDonald’s provides jobs for many young adults that need to make a living because they come from low-income families. McDonald’s is a great first job for teenagers, because it gives them structure, educational, and provides a stepping stone to job progression. Despite Etzioni’s claims, fast food chains provide essential opportunities for teenagers to complete their high school graduation, job growth, and educational opportunities.

Etzioni loses credibility in his essay because he uses outdated reference sources to prove fast food restaurants effects on a teenager’s enrollment in high school. Etzioni states, “A 1980 study by A.V. Harrell and P.W. Wirtz found that, among those students who worked at least 25 hours per week while in school, their unemployment rate was half of that of seniors who did not work” (Etzioni, 240). However, most students I have gone to school with in years of 1990’s throughout the 2000’s never worked more than 25 hours a week. Currently, McDonalds allows many of their workers to work part time, less than 15 hours a week because of their school obligations.

Etzioni goes on to further explain how most teenagers drop out of school after being employed by a fast food restaurant. He states, “It must be seen, though, together with the finding that many who begin as part-time employes in fast-food chains drop out of high school and are gobbled up in the world of low-skill jobs (Etzioni, 240). Etzioni does not provide additional statistics from credible sources to prove his points. I personally do not know of anyone that quit high school because of their fast food job. It has been my experience working at McDonalds has enabled teenagers to learn time management skills by balancing work with school. The fast food chain is a stepping stone to gain work related experience leading to job growth opportunities.

The amount of job growth opportunities within McDonalds is available to everyone. McDonalds offers incentives to promote from within to become restaurant managers. The training is free and is offered to hard working individuals that are eager to work and take on more responsibilities. Workers are given the opportunity to attend Hamburger University that provides the training and skills necessary for a person to become a qualified manager at McDonalds. There are even opportunities to work in the following departments at McDonalds: accounting/finance/, marketing, financial operations, human resources, construction, or even a franchise owner.

For example, “The McDonald’s Leadership Program is for you if you’re interested in working collaboratively with multi-million dollar business owners to offer guidance to help them run high-functioning restaurants” (Corporate.mcdonalds.com). Their leadership program is a great example of how employees can gravitate their careers to the next level. “Career Development is grounded in talent management and encompasses: career planning, Individual Development plans, career maps, succession planning, learning activities, etc” (Corporate.mcdonalds.com) Therefore, I disagree with Etzioni’s statement, “they provide no career ladders, few marketable skills, and undermine school advancement” (Etzioni, 241). Not only does McDonalds promotes various types leadership job roles, but also scholastic achievement.

McDonalds has a wonderful tuition assistance program that allows students to work and earn money up front for their college degree. This is a great incentive for workers to embark upon. McDonalds isn’t just a fast food chain that is using workers as so called “robots” as author Etzioni states within his essay. Employees are deemed valuable and not viewed as robots with the intent to improve upon their education. Workers only need to work a “minimum of 15 hours a week, worked at least 90 days at a McDonalds establishment, receiving up to $2,500 in tuition funding for a four year or community college” (Hoyt, Elizabeth).

This education fund can be used over a lifetime until the employee earns their degree. McDonalds even helps support high school students whom have dropped out of high school. The program is called Archways to Opportunity, that funds ESL classes, educational counseling and high school credits for an employee to earn their GED. “Archways to Opportunity can help employees on the path to success: improve English skills, earn a high school diploma, work towards a college degree, and get help making an education and career plan with advisors” (Archwaystoopportunity.com). McDonalds has made considerable changes over the years to their educational programs and they are continuing to support their employees to become educated.

In conclusion, McDonalds promotes upscale jobs and free training within their establishment. Once these skills are learned an employee has the opportunity to move up within the company. There are even education incentives for the employees to take advantage of after 90 days of employment. McDonalds encourages their employees to better themselves and their livelihood. A teenager can benefit from the amount of responsibilities and communication skills presented to them at a younger age. Author and scholar Armitai Etzioni should take a closer look and re-examine what McDonalds is offering its employees present day 2018. Fast food chain restaurants are essential opportunities for teenagers to complete high school graduation, job growth, and educational opportunities.


Etzioni, Armitai. “Fast Food Factories: McJobs are bad for kids.” From Reading Critically Writing Well, by Axelrod, R., Cooper, C., Warriner, A., 11th ed., Bedford/St. Martin’s. 2017, pp. 240-241.
“Leadership Development.” McDonalds Cooperate, 2018, https://corporate.mcdonalds.com/mcd/corporate_careers2/training_and_development/leadership_development_career_pathing.html. 18 Oct 2018.
Hoyt, Elizabeth. “4 Fast Food Jobs That’ll Help Pay Your College.” Fastweb, 2018. https://www.fastweb.com/student-life/articles/four-fast-food-jobs-thatll-pay-your-college-tuition.
“Archways To Opportunity” McDonalds.com. 2018. http://www.archwaystoopportunity.com/.

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