Our thanks to 97.9 FM WCHL for spreading the word about our recently certified living wage employers. Have a listen the short clips below to learn more about these businesses and organizations – and please support them as you can!
BY ROXANA BOYD
Team lunches, stipends for gas, and a living wage set Crystal Clear Cleaning apart as an employer and housecleaning business in Orange County and the surrounding area.
As a certified living wage employer, the business prides itself on its relationship-oriented approach and family-like trust. Owner Jane Meadows regularly takes her two team members out to lunch to local restaurants like The Refectory Cafe, Fiesta Grill, and Weaver Street Market.
Reyna Arroyo-Martinez and Yerlin Vanesa Najera Alvarenga have been working with Jane Meadows for four years and two years, respectively. Arroyo-Martinez feels lucky that she kept her regular hours despite the pandemic. “In this company with Jane…I feel very happy. She is very nice,” she says.
Meadows started Crystal Clear Cleaning in 2000, and the business became a living wage employer about six years ago. Since then, it has attracted clients who appreciate the value of the living wage mission. She sees the Orange County Living Wage program as a way to invite the community to look at all forms of work as respectable, valuable, and honorable.
The Crystal Clear Cleaning team currently has room in their schedule to onboard two to three more clients. Meadows thinks this spring will bring a surge of requests for cleaning services, but she will need to hire more employees to keep up with the demand.
“It’s a balancing act between having enough help and having sufficient clients to keep that help employed,” she says.
Prior to the pandemic, Crystal Clear Cleaning had twice as many clients and employees. In the past couple of years, loyal clients paused their appointments but continued to pay for services because they wanted the business to survive.
When asked what makes Crystal Clear Cleaning unique, Meadows responds: “How much we care about each other. We operate more like a family than we do a small business.”
“We clean your home as if it were our own home,” she says. “We touch everything in your home with love and respect.” Clients tell her that their house feels like new after their services.
The team brings everything they need to job sites, relying on elbow grease and scrubbing power instead of chemicals. “Our products are safe for our clients, their children, their pets, and us,” says Meadows. After an initial deep clean, they schedule regular clients every two weeks.
Mary Ann Bumbera has been a Crystal Clear Cleaning client since the fall. She heard about the business from a friend and says she would recommend them to anyone. “They do such a good job. They’re dependable, responsible, trustworthy,” she says.
For more information about Crystal Clear Cleaning or to get in touch with owner Jane Meadows, see this flyer.
BY ROXANA BOYD
On Feb. 22, the Chamber for a Greater Chapel-Hill Carrboro launched the Summer Careers Academy, a new apprenticeship program that will connect young adults with local employers for eight weeks of career training. This summer, the “Building Our Future” inaugural program in Orange County will facilitate apprenticeships in the construction trades. Leaders plan to expand to other industries, such as health care and technology, and nearby counties in the coming years.
The vision for Summer Careers Academy stemmed from Chapel Hill Town Council Member Tai Huynh’s work with the local refugee community. In March 2021, he brought together a working group of employers, education institutions, government entities, and other volunteers. This coalition formed a steering committee that designed the program with an emphasis on supporting low-income students, students of color, and those from refugee and migrant families.
Participants in the apprenticeship program will receive credit and credentials toward careers in skilled trades – and a learning wage of $12 an hour. Orange County Living Wage (OCLW) fully endorses the $12 learning wage because it provides greater access to apprenticeships for students of all incomes, says OCLW Co-Founder Susan Romaine.
“We often hear about unpaid internships and apprenticeships as great opportunities for students to network, get on-the-job experience, and build their resumes,” says Romaine. “But not everybody can afford unpaid internships and apprenticeships. Many high school students work to contribute to the family’s monthly expenses; or, perhaps they are saving for a car or even college.”
Romaine says OCLW is thrilled that the Summer Careers Academy will encourage participating employers to hire students after their completion of the program and pay a living wage of $15.85 an hour.
“These employers become a pipeline for living wage jobs for future graduates of this apprenticeship program,” says Romaine. “We hope these employers will join our roster of certified living wage employers along the way.”
From construction firms to nonprofits, more than a dozen employers have signed up to host students this summer for pathways in carpentry, plumbing, electrical, masonry, and heating and air conditioning.
“We’ve been hearing a growing chorus of recognition that we need to train young folks in the trades,” says Mark Marcoplos, owner of Marcoplos Construction and a former Orange County Commissioner. “It is a very viable career pathway as an alternative to the academic path.”
Summer Careers Academy offers multiple ways for employers and community members to get involved. More information, including student application forms, can be found on the website. The program will run from June 14 through Aug. 5.
Orange County Living Wage is happy to announce that ClearWind Farm is now a living wage employer.
The 200-acre farm is located 15 minutes west of Chapel Hill and offers equine-assisted psychotherapy, learning workshops, horseback riding lessons, and yoga. Clearwind Farm was founded in 2000 by Suzanne and Matt Case.
Listen as WCHL shares the news of ClearWind Farm’s living wage certification!
Orange County Living Wage is happy to announce that Ten Mothers Farm is now a living wage employer. Ten Mothers Farm is a small farm in Cedar Grove growing organic, nutrient-dense vegetables for a CSA and local restaurants. The farm was founded by Gordon Jenkins and Vera Fabian in 2016.
“The Ten Mothers Farm crew is an incredible team,” says Vera. “Together, we get a lot of work done and grow a lot of food. Making sure that every member of the team makes a living wage shows that everyone is valued and helps them meet the cost of their basic necessities. Farming is hard work and skilled work, and farmers deserve to earn a living wage. Paying a living wage means our farmers have stable, year-round jobs and can stick around longer than one season, which makes our business more resilient. Skilled long-term farmers make for better vegetables and better service for our CSA customers. It’s taken us a number of years to get to this point, but it feels really good to finally be here, and we believe it’s a win-win situation for all of us.”
For more information, go to tenmothersfarm.com.
For a list of all of Orange County’s certified living wage employers, click here.
Listen as WCHL shares the news of Ten Mothers Farm’s living wage certification!
Orange County Living Wage is pleased to announce that New Vista Development has certified as a living wage employer.
New Vista Development is a boutique custom home design and building company based in Chapel Hill. They work in Orange, Chatham, and Durham counties. Their success is driven by Kurt Mueller’s enjoyment of the design process. He works with clients collaboratively and is committed to listening, understanding, and respecting their needs and wishes in order to deliver the home of their dreams.
Listen as WCHL shares the news of New Vista Development’s living wage certification!
Orange County Living Wage is pleased to announce that Well has certified as a living wage employer.
Located on Franklin Street in Chapel Hill, Well is a health tech startup offering on-demand health guides and habit-forming journeys.
Well’s concierge health team delivers easy-to-understand explanations, health guidance, and active assistance — live and on-demand. This is not one size fits all. For every member, they deliver proactive health insights that are data-driven, timely, and personalized.
For more information, head to well.co.
Listen as WCHL shares the news of Well’s living wage certification!
Orange County Living Wage is pleased to announce that Pure Tree Care has certified as a living wage employer.
Pure Tree Care provides expert-quality tree services. Whether you require services in tree removal, pruning, or trimming, their professional arborists and tree surgeons have the experience and skills to assist. This family-owned tree service business was founded in 1992 and serves Chapel Hill, Carrboro, and the surrounding areas. Their prices are affordable – yet each project is tailored to exact client specifications.
Learn more by visiting https://puretreecare.com.
Listen as WCHL shares the news of Pure Tree Care’s living wage certification!
Orange County Living Wage is pleased to announce that Bowbarr has certified as a living wage employer.
Bowbarr is a bar on West Rosemary Street specializing in cocktails and community gathering space. You can also order wine or gifts on their website for pick up or delivery.
Learn more by visiting www.bowbarrtogo.com.
Listen as WCHL shares the news of Bowbarr’s living wage certification!
Orange County Living Wage is pleased to announce that The Beehive has certified as a living wage employer.
The Beehive is a fun, funky salon buzzing in the heart of downtown Carrboro, on East Weaver Street. They are a Green Circle Salon Certified salon, and they offer gallery space for local artists as part of the Second Friday Art Walk.
They have been keeping Carrboro cute for more than 15 years!
Learn more by visiting www.thebeehive-salon.com.
Listen as WCHL shares the news of The Beehive’s living wage certification!