Remember those ’23 million unemployed and under-employed’ Americans that candidates across the aisle campaigned on for months on end? Now that the election is over, it seems everyone has forgotten about them; there’s hardly a word about the unemployed anymore.
Workplace, Inc, a CT non profit runs a program called Platform 2 Employment (P2E).
P2E is an 8-week internship program that’s designed specifically to help 99ers (people who have exhausted all ’99 weeks’ of UI benefits) re-enter the workforce.
Like thousands of others across the state, I was laid off from my job as an operations analyst in July, 2008 and, for the most part, have been unemployed or significantly under-employed ever since. P2E has been highly successful in helping 99ers re-enter the workforce (most of whom, like myself, are in their 40s & 50s).
The P2E program has been featured on 60 Minutes, not once, but twice – and touts a huge level of success: it has placed more than 70% of program participants into work experience programs, with nearly 90% of these individuals moving on to full-time employment.
The program is a public/private partnership in which companies who are looking to hire can participate. The wages earned by the employee (intern) during the 8-week internship are subsidize by P2E – as long as the company commits to hiring the individual into a permanent role following the 8-week internship, assuming there are no problems and it is a ‘good fit’ between the employee and the employer.
The program just received grant money from the AARP Foundation, the Walmart Foundation and Citi Community Development to expand the program in 10 cities across the country. This grant money is targeted specifically at long term unemployed veterans and ‘older’ job seekers aged 50 and older.
The folks at P2E are working hard to expand the program to all long term unemployed, including those under age 50 – but need help raising awareness about the program, and, obviously, finding additional funding sources which are needed in order for the program to be expanded so that more people can participate. They are hoping to be up and running here in Colorado in late spring.
This is a win-win for all parties: job seekers and employers who are looking (and willing to commit) to hire a qualified, proven, and long term unemployed candidate.
It seems to me that this is a program a public/private partnership, that lawmakers, policy wonks and advocates from both sides of the aisle can and should support. There’s no better economic boost than to help move the educated, highly experienced and motivated folks out of the unemployment, government assistance lines and the uninsured emergency room and other health care lines – and into the tax-paying employment lines.
Maybe it’s possible that some funding could come from the Colorado Department of Labor & Employment – or from the general revenue fund?
P2E offers a solution that all interested parties can benefit from; a solution that all political parties can and should support. Here’s a chance for lawmaker’s from both sides of the spectrum to take a step toward solving this crisis (it is a crisis).
It’s also an opportunity for those same candidates who campaigned on the ’23 million’ jobless Americans to actually do something to help fix the problem. That is what they all campaigned on, right?
Unemployment may be something people are tired of hearing about; maybe it’s time to do something about it.