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THE JOB JANITORS AND CLEANERS keep office buildings, hotels, stores, factories, hospitals, schools, and other places clean. Job titles and job duties may be different in this job group, depending on where the work is done. For example, jobs in this field also include Chimney Sweeps, Window Cleaners, and Laboratory Aides. Janitors and Cleaners sweep, vacuum, mop and wax floors, clean carpets, dust and polish furniture, clean and supply restrooms, collect and throw out trash, wash walls and ceilings, replace lights, and polish metal work. In some jobs they may do minor repairs, paint, do carpentry work, kill insects and other pests, clean heavy machinery, tend furnaces, air conditioners and boilers, operate heavy machinery such as paper balers, or supervise other workers. In schools and office buildings, they may set up tables and chairs in auditoriums or meeting rooms. Janitors and Cleaners must know how to use chemical cleaners and power equipment to keep from harming or damaging floors and fixtures. Other jobs in this category include: Industrial Cleaners -- These workers keep work areas in industrial businesses clean and orderly. Using a hand truck, they may carry products or supplies between departments or buildings. These workers often clean lint, dust, oil, and grease from machines and conveyers, wash floors using a hose, and may wash out processing tanks, containers or barrels. Laboratory Equipment Cleaners -- These workers clean the laboratory's glassware, metal instruments, sinks, tables, and test panels, using soaps and solvents, brushes, and rags. There are many duties, these include mixing water and detergent or acids to sterilize equipment, washing walls and floors of the laboratory, labeling tubes and bottles, and filing microscope slides. Window Cleaners -- These workers use soapy water or other cleaners, sponges and squeegees to clean windows, glass partitions, and mirrors. This job often requires working on ladders, the use of a swing chair, or scaffolding to reach outside windows on upper floors of a building. Chimney Sweeps -- Chimney sweeping is one of the oldest jobs in history, and even in California the sweeps often dress in the traditional top hat and coat and tails of an English Chimney Sweep. Although many kinds of brushes are used, today's Chimney Sweeps usually use a vacuum that empties soot and dirt into a container mounted on a truck. They clean out fireplace flues, connecting pipes, and may reseal joints with cement. WORKING CONDITIONS Janitorial work is often done at night when the building is closed. The employee must be able to work alone. The work may be hard. The employee may be exposed to irritating cleaning detergents. Janitors and Cleaners may be assigned to work shifts when 24-hour service is needed. The work is usually done inside buildings which are heated and well-lit. Sometimes they may work outdoors sweeping walkways and mowing lawns. Duties like dusting or sweeping require a lot of bending, stooping, and stretching. EMPLOYMENT OUTLOOK The California Projections of Employment, published by the Labor Market Information Division of the Employment Development Department, estimates that the number of Janitors and Cleaners in California will reach 222,190 by 2005, an increase in new jobs of 45,260 over the number there were in 1993. There will also be an estimated 44,520 job openings due to people retiring or leaving the occupation. Added to the 45,260 new jobs expected, this makes for an estimated total of 89,780 job opportunities through 2005. (These figures do not include self-employment nor openings due to turnover.) There are many Janitors and Cleaners in California. Since companies usually contract Janitors and Cleaners from commercial cleaning services, these services are becoming a very important source of jobs. Demand for workers is expected to grow because of a large number of people changing jobs, plus job openings resulting from the building of office and other commercial space. There will continue to be more applicants than jobs, but many of the applicants are not qualified. WAGES, HOURS, AND FRINGE BENEFITS Janitors and Cleaners with little or no experience start from minimum wage to $11.50 an hour. Unionized firms, which generally require employees to have janitorial experience, pay from the minimum wage to $11.75 an hour, depending on the location. Nonunion firms generally pay experienced employees from minimum wage to $14.00 an hour. In big cities most of the Janitors and Cleaners belong to a union. In the small towns, they are usually non-union. Benefits may include paid holidays, vacation, sick leave, medical and dental insurance, and a retirement plan. Part-time work is common. Janitors and Cleaners just starting out in this job or moving from another area may have to begin by working only one or two days per week. ENTRANCE REQUIREMENTS AND TRAINING Janitors and Cleaners must have the strength to do hard work, be able to work alone, and to read and follow directions. For janitorial route work, a driver's license and a car may be needed. Most Janitors and Cleaners learn on the job. They are given harder work with more experience. They learn to operate and keep up machines used on the job such as wet and dry vacuums, buffers, and polishers. Janitors and Cleaners may take classes at job training centers, community colleges, or adult schools. However, many are trained on the job by the employer or by a co-worker. ADVANCEMENT Experienced Janitors and Cleaners may promote to maintenance supervisor, and, if they save enough money, may eventually own and run their own janitorial service. FINDING THE JOB Janitors and Cleaners may find work directly through employers, union hiring halls, private employment agencies, and the California Employment Development Department Job Service. Newspaper ads are also a good source of job leads. In the classified ads, Janitor jobs may be listed under various titles such as Cleaner, Porter, Custodian and, even, Laborer or General Helper. ADDITIONAL SOURCES OF INFORMATION Building Service Contractors Association International 10201 Lee Highway, Suite 225 Fairfax, VA 22030 (703) 359-7090 RELATED OCCUPATIONAL GUIDES Private Household Workers No. 395 OCCUPATIONAL CODE REFERENCES DOT (Dictionary of Occupational Titles, 4th ed., Rev. 1) Cleaner, Commercial or Institutional 381.687-014 Cleaner, Industrial 381.687-018 Cleaner, Laboratory Equipment 381.687-022 Janitor 382.664-010 Cleaner, Window 389.687-014 Chimney Sweep 891.687-010 OES (Occupational Employment Statistics) System Janitors and Cleaners 670050 Source: State of California, Employment Development Department, Labor Market Information Division, Information Services Group, (916) 262-2162.Note: This is NOT a job opening. The purpose of This California Occupational Guide is to provide you with useful information to help you make career decisions. If you are searching for a job, go to:
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