By Leon Mumford
WeShare's "job training" program could not be considered direct assistance. The program apparently intends to teach homeless and needy people the art of telemarketing. Self-esteem audio and video tapes are played to WeShare trainee's for 15-20 minutes before each six-hour work shift, but hands on experience provides the bulk of the fledgling telemarketer's training.
For the first two weeks, WeShare trainees are paid the sub-minimum wage of $4.17 per hour. The employee that agreed to talk said she started on the telephone on her first day. If they stay at WeShare for a month, however, they graduate to a ceiling wage of $35 a day.
To keep their jobs, the telemarketers must take in $200 of mailed in pledge money a day. WeShare has suffered a fairly high turnover rate of 1500 employees in five years.
WeShare does not provide a job placement program for their employees. Neither can they provide a guarantee that all their employees are needy; Paul Orlowski's Target 3 investigation showed an extremely well dressed woman with an impressive resume easily secure a telemarketing job.
Many of the employees of WeShare have worked for an extended period of time with the company, and have not moved to better jobs as most job training programs require.
During the "job training" program, employees are paid for soliciting over 1 million dollars a year. This payment is an administrative cost, as it is immediately taken out of the money donated and used to sustain the operation of the company.
Copyright NEOCH and the Homeless Grapevine published January – February 1996 Issue 13