Were you able to catch the President’s speech when he revealed his American Jobs Act? Well if you didn’t, the $447 billion plan is designed to create jobs by helping small business entrepreneurs, by investing in education, and by simply putting more people back to work and more money in the pockets of working Americans. Without getting into the merits, skepticism, or politics of the plan, I think it is still important to know what is in it and how it might affect what we do.
The Plan has Five Key Components:
1. Tax Cuts to Help America’s Small Businesses Hire and Grow
2. Putting Workers Back on the Job While Rebuilding and Modernizing America
3. Pathways Back to Work for Americans Looking for Jobs
4. Tax Relief for Every American Worker and Family
5. Fully Paid for as Part of the President’s Long-Term Deficit Reduction Plan
As expected #3 Pathways Back to Work for Americans Looking for Jobs is the key component which would impact the Career Centers. The President’s plan would help out-of-work Americans and their families by extending unemployment insurance to 5 million Americans, while at the same time reforming the system to help support programs that build real skills, connect to real jobs, and help the long-term unemployed.
Improved Reemployment Services for Long-term Unemployed: New Emergency Unemployment Compensation claimants will be required to report to or check-in with their local Career Center, where they will receive a more intensive package of services under the President’s plan-including career guidance, job search assistance, skills assessment, workshops on an array of topics, including employability skills, and referrals to occupational training.
Reemployment and Eligibility Assessments (REAs) for all New Emergency Claimants: The President’s plan will provide funding for states to conduct REAs, to review claimants’ eligibility for benefits, and provide an assessment of their work-search efforts. These assessments have proven effective, and requiring them will help ensure that UI claimants evaluate whether they are approaching their job search in the most effective way and allow claimants to develop better plans for job search activities and training.
Investing in Low-Income Youth and Adults: Building on previous successes, the new Pathways Back to Work Fund will provide states with support for summer job programs for low-income youth in 2012, and year-round employment for economically disadvantaged young adults.
Support for Local Efforts to Implement Promising Work-Based Strategies and to Provide Training Opportunities: This initiative would support efforts that have good records of placing low-income adults and youths in jobs quickly. Local officials, in partnership with local workforce boards, business, community colleges, and other partners, will be able to apply for funding to support promising strategies designed to lead to employment in the short-term.
In addition to funding for innovative bridge programs to put long-term unemployed individuals to work, the plan calls for an influx of capital for Community Colleges to strengthen and upgrade their training capacity.
Again, I caution you that this is only a plan and if you listen to the evening news, some may even say that it is a dream far from reality. However, I do want you to know how it could possibly affect the jobs that we do every day in the Career Centers.