Friday, May 8, 2009

Need a Job? Have No College? The State Wants You.

While the state is mired in its unemployment funk, the questionable bright spot is that you are I are hiring. Or at least taking aps.
That is, the State of Michigan has hundreds of job openings, despite what you might hear about scaling back and the 6-day holiday for state employees to ease budget troubles.
I was going over just what we are asking of these employees and how much we should pay them, when I found out that the job of sitting at a desk at one of those little Welcome Centers we have at the state border(s) pays up to almost $40,000 a year.
Requirements include a high school diploma or GED certificate, and a year of what they call “7-level administrative support activities.” This is, simply put, the some very basic clerical experience. This would be regarded as two years of clerking for the state. In a complaint filed last year, an applicant from outside, meaning not one of those already on the state payroll, dared question the meaning of 7-level administrative support activities and was rebuffed. It appears that the complainant, Gregory Dutcher, had some pretty good experience. But from the Civil Service Commission finding:
“The Equitable Classification Plan (ECP) Glossary of Classification and Selection Terminology defines the term administrative support as follows: Work where the principal duties and responsibilities involve office support work in such areas as answering telephones, customer and staff support, word processing, data production, database and file maintenance, performing calculations, and secretarial office coordination.
In other words, qualifying experience must essentially be clerical in nature. Second, when evaluating non-state experience the same standards must be applied as are applied when evaluating state classified experience. In the state classified service, it typically requires two years of administrative support experience to even reach the 7-level, which means that one year of 7-level experience actually means a total of three years (6240 hours) of administrative support, or clerical, experience.”
So to sit behind that desk at the Welcome Center, you have to be in the system, it seems. For that, you get $40,000 and a UAW-protected, lifelong job from which it is almost impossible to be fired.
How does this square with the notion that to succeed, “you have to have more than a high school degree,” as our elected leaders have maintained for so long as they advocate for taxpayer-funded college for anyone who so desires?
“We want every student in Michigan to leave high school with the skills it takes to succeed in college and the work place,” Gov. Granholm said in her state of the state address in 2008.
I would simply point to this job at the Welcome Center as proof that you don’t even need to finish high school – get a GED if you like – and once you get into the system, a $40,000 sinecure is yours.


  1. There is a good chance that none of the jobs posted on the State of Michigan website will be filled. If we didn't have a hiring freeze then these positions would be available - just because it is posted does not mean that they will be filled. So to beat up the Department of Civil Service for posting the jobs seems overly critical. Especially if you don't actually know what is happening. Also just because you read a job description that doesn't means that you completely understand what the entire job entails. Have you worked at one of the welcome centers?

    As for the state of Michigan classification system - it follows the federal government's system. Yes it can be frustrating to be over-qualified for a position, but that is life. There is nothing wrong with the actual system used. If the applicant has experience outside of the state of Michigan that fits the job description then that experience is considered.

    I am baffled that you would take the time to criticize the jobs listed and the one in particular at the welcome center when really this system just follows what happens in the private world as well. It appears as though you are just looking for reasons to complain about Michigan - it would be so nice if people like you actually tried to help instead of just complain. How so very unproductive for the greater good.

  2. I counted on this response - of course not, these aren't jobs that are available - they just post them - Do you believe that?
    Aside from this issue, the idea here is to shine a light on government and its often-misguided practices, and to make that gvt as transparent as possible - so "complaining" is not what we are doing. I would hope you could understand the need to keep the sometimes-troubled ways of government in the spotlight in order to maintain a well-informed electorate.
    Would you say that any sort of exposure that didn't cast the state and its leaders in a good light would be "complaining?" I don't think so; you're smarter than that, just as most people are. Please read these and engage in a conversation - but don't just simply send out some pro-government rhetoric and expect us to buy it.
    As for the government following the private sector; these are two vastly different economic models. I'm sure you understand that.

  3. I am engaging in a conversation and not just sending out "pro-government rhetoric." I am baffled that you would spend the time to write this post - to find one small detail of the state's government that you find ineffective and complain. These jobs are being filled - go ahead and call on any one of the postings, you will find that though they might accept your resume there is no intention of filling the positions.

  4. Why are you anonymous?

    And if they are posting and not filling the jobs, are they not wasting the time of the prospective applicants? How insincere of our bureaucracy! I guess its just another department that needs to be eliminated for a lack of any good use.

    But seriously.. I will never post a comment anonymously. Anon postings generally are seen as attempts to bait. It is a lot easier to scan over the ramblings of an anon poster who doesn't have enough conviction of his own opinions to risk connecting his name to it.