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Will kids ditch education to make $15 an hour? Opponents behind new billboard say so
No Caption - photo by Payton Davis
The prospect of earning $15 an hour might encourage young adults to ditch endeavors in education if nationwide efforts to raise the minimum wage come to fruition, a Times Square billboard indicates.

"What? I get $30,000 a year with no experience or skills?" reads the sign featuring a young man with headphones in and cap turned around. "Who needs an education or hard work when Gov. Cuomo is raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour?"

According to CNN Money, the billboard is part of the Employment Policies Institute's $100,000 campaign to argue against New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo's plan to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour in New York City by 2018.

For those behind the controversial billboard, the Fight for $15 movement's supporters fail to understand the potential negative influence wage increases could have on U.S. education, Michael Saltsman of the EPI told the Guardian.

The sign addresses those consequences, he said.

The billboard has two messages: 1) A $15 minimum wage is unfair to more-experienced employees who have already worked their way up to that wage; and 2) it has the potential to discourage people from seeking further education, Saltsman told Jana Kasperkevic of The Guardian.

Saltsman also spoke with Aaron Smith of CNN Money about how Cuomo's decision "devalues the hard work of other people who have already put the effort into working their way up."

A 16-year-old fast-food worker in his first day on the job might earn as much as an employee who's spent a few years in the industry, Saltsman said.

However, proponents of New York's wage increase argued the billboard's depiction of fast-food workers is false, according to Mic.

A report indicated 41 percent of the field's workforce are people of color, 27 percent have children and 31 percent have some college education, Robbie Hiltonsmith, senior policy analyst for Demos, told Mic.

The white male millenial posing on the billboard and his intent to forget education are "deliberately misleading," Hiltonsmith said.

"An accurate billboard would show a 23-year-old woman (23 is the median age of fast-food workers) perhaps Latino or black, saying 'Now I can actually afford to feed my family/finish the college degree that was the reason I got this job to begin with,'" he told Tom McKay of Mic.

In New York in particular, 72 percent of fast-food workers are over the age of 22, devaluing EPI's education-related argument, Heather McGhee wrote for New York Daily News.
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