Job Training and Employment

  • Once jobless and uncounted, eager workers could slow Fed rate hike, By Howard Schneider, October 18, 2016, St. Louis Post-Dispatch: “The crammed-to-capacity parking lot at a job training center in this St. Louis suburb is exhibit A for why the Federal Reserve remains at odds over the health of the U.S. labor market and how quickly interest rates should rise.  Among those in the building on a recent fall day, Joshua Goodson, 23, described his recent work history as a ‘dead end.’ Motivated by the prospect of a firm career foothold, he is now in a program at the Family and Workforce Centers of America that includes both a curriculum in heating and air conditioning installation, and the ‘soft’ social skills needed to keep steady employment…”
  • Nonprofit seeks to fill skills gap of low-income high school graduates, By Akilah Johnson, October 21, 2016, Boston Globe: “Eye contact was made with each visitor, who was greeted with a firm handshake. Pleasantries were exchanged, with a smidgeon of small talk.  But there was also direction and discipline for those Year Up students whose professional attire was deemed a bit too trendy for the buttoned-down business world. It’s these types of behaviors and approaches that the job-training program seeks to teach thousands of disconnected youth…”

Career Pathways Program – Arkansas

This welfare reform program could be a model to help impoverished college students, By Danielle Douglas-Gabriel,  August 31, 2016, Washington Post: “When Will Bradford enrolled at Northwest Arkansas Community College in January 2015, it had been 15 years since he had stepped foot in a classroom. He had taken a few college classes after high school but dropped out in a matter of weeks.  ‘I just didn’t have the motivation,’ Bradford, 35, recalls. But with two young boys to care for, getting an education took on a new importance, especially if it meant earning more money. Even with his newfound motivation, Bradford was no less intimidated. ‘I was nervous about how much work would be involved and whether I was overdoing it with a full-time job, but a lot of it was just getting back into the school system,’ he said.  Enter Arkansas Career Pathways Initiative, a program funded by the federal welfare program, known as Temporary Assistance for Needy Families or TANF, that provides academic and social services to low-income parents attending state community colleges and technical centers…”

Workforce Development – Indiana

Indiana’s low unemployment creates worker shortage, By Kris Turner, January 8, 2016, Indianapolis Star: “One. That’s how many qualified employees Gregg Fore can find among every 10 job applicants at his RV manufacturing business.  And he’s far from alone. Economic experts say Indiana businesses face some particularly tough hiring challenges because of the state’s heavy reliance on manufacturing, a sector that has been hit hardest by a national worker shortage…”

Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act

  • House passes job-training bill, clearing for Obama, By Derek Wallbank, July 9, 2014, BloombergLawmakers criticized for a lack of productivity hailed an adult education and job training bill the U.S. House passed yesterday as evidence that Congress can get something done. The bill, which the House cleared for President Barack Obama’s signature on a 415-6 vote, authorizes $58 billion over six years for federal workforce development programs. It eliminates 15 programs still on the books, though most had become dormant in recent years. House lawmakers passed an earlier version of H.R. 803 last year. The Senate, after months of negotiations, passed an amended version in June. . .”
  • Congress is finally doing something about long term unemployment, By Danielle Kurtzelben, July 10, 2014, Vox: “Job training plays a curious role in American politics. On the one hand, nothing is less controversial than calls for a better-skilled workforce. On the other hand, over the years federal training initiatives have attracted a — somewhat deserved — reputation as a backwater of inefficient spending and unaccountable programs. But on Wednesday the notoriously unproductive Congress has passed a compromise Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act. It’s a revamping of the Workforce Investment Act, the Labor Department’s main job training initiative. . .”

Workforce Development

States want more control over workforce development money, By Melissa Maynard, August 15, 2013, Stateline: “States struggling to rebuild their workforces in the wake of staggering unemployment say they know better than the federal government how to make the most out of limited workforce development and job training dollars. Governors want more administrative control over programs funded through the Workforce Investment Act, now before Congress for an overhaul. As that discussion continues, the National Governors Association has a wish list…”

Unemployment Benefits – Delaware, Iowa

  • Jobless-benefit checks phased out, By Chad Livengood, November 15, 2011, News Journal: “Paper unemployment insurance checks will be virtually nonexistent in Delaware by mid-2012. The Delaware Department of Labor plans to do away with almost all paper checks by June, when it begins issuing debit cards to jobless workers who don’t choose to receive their unemployment benefits via a direct deposit into their bank accounts. ‘As far as the paper check, it’s going to go the way of the dinosaur,’ said Tom MacPherson, director of the division of unemployment insurance. There may still be some paper checks issued to people claiming unemployment benefits for the first time, MacPherson said, but only until a direct deposit can be activated with their bank…”
  • Branstad praises results of closing 36 unemployment offices, By Jason Clayworth, November 14, 2011, Des Moines Register: “Gov. Terry Branstad’s decision that’s being challenged as unconstitutional to close 36 Iowa unemployment offices was praised today by himself and his administration as ‘a significant success.’ ‘Our tracking data indicates that services are equal to or greater than what they were available at this time last year. I see this as a significant success and commend Director (Teresa) Wahlert and Iowa Workforce Development for their good work,’ Branstad said. Branstad in July vetoed portions of Senate File 517 that would have prohibited closure of the 36 Iowa Workforce Development offices across the state. Branstad wrote in his veto letter that the legislation would have prevented the department from putting together a more efficient system for assisting unemployed Iowans…”

Job-Training Programs

Job-training programs come under scrutiny in Congress, By Rob Hotakainen, June 27, 2011, Miami Herald: “After working for seven years as a receptionist, Teresa Sawyer knew how to use a typewriter and a photocopier when she got laid off in 2008, but she knew nothing about computers. Sawyer, 60, of Gig Harbor, Wash., sent out hundreds of resumes but didn’t get a single response, leading her to conclude that she was unemployable. But with a little help from a federal job-training program, Sawyer went back to school to learn how to be a medical office professional. After receiving a two-year associate in applied science degree from Tacoma Community College this month, she has no fears of landing a job. ‘None at all, not with the skill that I have. … I never dreamed I would do this,’ she said. Despite their popularity with many members of Congress and their constituents, however, job-training programs have come under increased scrutiny this year on Capitol Hill, and the attention is about to intensify…”

State Job Training Programs

  • Georgia Work$ expands, By Christine Vestal, September 20, 2010, “When Augusta Roosa lost her accounting job at a restaurant on Jekyll Island, Georgia, she figured it would be just a matter of time before she landed another job in her line of work. But after six months of looking, she decided to go for a long shot. ‘I knew the back of the restaurant so I figured ‘why not learn the front?” says 29-year-old Roosa. The trick was getting a local restaurant owner to give her a chance to prove she could learn everything she needed to know on the job. That’s where a nationally recognized program called Georgia Work$ came in. Started in 2003, it allows jobless workers to become trainees for selected businesses at no cost to the employers. Starting today (Sept. 20), Georgia is more than doubling the number of people who can benefit from the program by opening it up to anyone without a job, not just those collecting unemployment checks, as originally designed…”
  • Utah incentive helps put people ‘Back to Work’, By Mike Gorrell, September 20, 2010, Salt Lake Tribune: “Javier Mendez married Marquita Luker on Aug. 18, so it was not a good time for him to be out of work. But he was, laid off a couple of months earlier from a gritty job removing asbestos from older buildings. So the 32-year-old Taylorsville man was eager to take advantage of a new Utah Department of Workforce Services program that offers companies an incentive – worth up to $2,000 – to hire people receiving unemployment insurance benefits. ‘That’s like a gimme,’ Mendez said last week while working among a crisscrossing grid of pipes running in and out of a chiller unit at the $20.5 million JL Sorenson Recreation Center being built in Herriman by Layton Construction. His new company, Thermal West, is one of the first to participate in the state agency’s ‘Back to Work’ program, which began in July. The department has received enough federal funding through the Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) program to find work for up to 2,500 recipients of unemployment insurance benefits and 700 out-of-work youth. How? By offering companies the $2,000 subsidy if they hire someone off the active unemployment rolls and put them to work for three months, at a guaranteed minimum wage of $9 an hour…”

Unemployment Benefits and Job Programs – Georgia, New Jersey

  • Ga. work program grows, attracts followers, By Christine Vestal, September 10, 2009, “As states struggle to help legions of jobless workers find employment, some are seeking advice from Georgia, where a growing number of people are landing jobs as a result of free tryouts sponsored by the state unemployment system. The program, dubbed Georgia Works, is so simple that experts say other states should have no problem replicating it…”
  • As unemployment benefits run out, Jersey’s jobless wait for extension, By Trish G. Graber, September 11, 2009, Star-Ledger: “Unemployment insurance benefits will dry up for an estimated 33,000 New Jerseyans today, and the state estimates another 3,500 to 4,000 will receive final checks each week through the end of the year as residents exhaust their benefits. Help for the unemployed now rests with Congress, where pending legislation would extend benefits, probably for another 13 weeks. In the Garden State, and many other states, out-of-work residents can collect unemployment for 79 weeks. In New Jersey, the maximum weekly benefit is $584, and the federal stimulus law allows for an additional $25…”

Job Training Program – Omaha, NE

Omaha jobs program attracting the national limelight, By Steve Jordan, July 10, 2009, Omaha World-Herald: “An Omaha effort to break people out of poverty is attracting national attention because the city’s business community is leading the charge.  Nonprofit or government agencies typically run such jobs programs, which might get only grudging support from private industry because of the costs and uncertainties involved. Sometimes clients complete training only to discover jobs are lacking.  Not so in Omaha, where the Greater Omaha Chamber of Commerce is leading the effort to introduce chronically unemployed or under-employed people into careers that can support families…”

States and Job Training Initiatives

Tracking the recession: States push job training, By Christine Vestal, July 3, 2009, “Everyone agrees the way out of this recession is jobs. But even as the recession begins to lift and stimulus projects generate jobs, many unemployed workers will have few prospects because their skills won’t match new openings.  That’s where state workforce agencies come in…”