Comments Requested on Local Workforce Plan
The WorkPlace, southwestern Connecticut’s regional Workforce Development Board conducts comprehensive planning, and coordinates regional workforce development programs. As one of five Workforce ... Continue
The WorkPlace, southwestern Connecticut’s regional Workforce Development Board conducts comprehensive planning, and coordinates regional workforce development programs. As one of five Workforce Development Boards in the state, we continue to prepare people for careers while strengthening the workforce for employers.
The WorkPlace is preparing a comprehensive 5-year local plan and requests your feedback on its design and content. This document is being submitted to the governor as part of the Office of Workforce Competitiveness, DOL Employment Services and Connecticut Employment and Training Commission’s effort to strategically align workforce strategies.
The plan can be found on the homepage of The WorkPlace website or by clicking here. After reviewing the document, please complete a brief questionnaire. Your candid and thoughtful reply will help our evaluation and plan development. Most people are able to complete the questionnaire in a few brief minutes. After the results are tabulated and compiled, we will issue the plan.
Thanks in advance for your time and assistance.
CBS: Chicago To Test Job Assistance Program For Veterans, Long-Term Unemployed
To listen to the radio announcement, please visit http://cbsloc.al/ZarCVZ CHICAGO (CBS) – Chicago and Cook County officials have teamed up to kick off a pilot program to help veterans and ... Continue
To listen to the radio announcement, please visit http://cbsloc.al/ZarCVZ
CHICAGO (CBS) – Chicago and Cook County officials have teamed up to kick off a pilot program to help veterans and those who have been unemployed for a long time.
WBBM Newsradio Political Editor Craig Dellimore reports the new program called “Platform to Employment” was designed by officials in Connecticut. Its aim is to help the long-term unemployed and veterans who haven’t been able to find jobs.
Karin Norrington-Reaves, CEO of the Chicago Cook Workforce Partnership, said those people face discrimination from employers.
“They look at the résumés, and say ‘Well, what’s wrong with them if they’re out of work?’ when it could be nothing to do with their skillset, nothing to do with the way that they conduct themselves in the workplace; that it really could just be a situation where there’s been a reduction in force at a firm, and that individual was unfortunately affected by that through no fault of their own,” she said.
The pilot program is seeking employers willing to hire workers who have been retrained and redirected.
Norrington-Reaves said the program will focus on finding jobs for people over the age of 50 who have been unemployed for at least 26 weeks, and have exhausted their unemployment benefits. It will also have a component targeting unemployed veterans.
She said the longer people are out of work, the harder it is for them to find a job.
“This program is really designed to help those folks address the variety of issues that they face, and quite frankly get their mojo back, so that they know how to better market themselves and sell themselves during an interview,” she said.
The pilot program will serve only a couple dozen people, but the plans are to expand it with the help of employers willing to hire participants.
YouthWorks 2013 Summer Earn and Learn Program Application - Accepted until May 24, 4pm EST
The YouthWorks - 2013 Earn & Learn Summer Employment program is a WorkPlace Opportunity. In southwestern Connecticut, the YouthWorks - 2013 Earn & Learn Summer Employment program will give pr ... Continue
The YouthWorks - 2013 Earn & Learn Summer Employment program is a WorkPlace Opportunity.
In southwestern Connecticut, the YouthWorks - 2013 Earn & Learn Summer Employment program will give priority to the neediest youth. The program will pay youth (ages 14-21) for up to 20 hours per week for up to 7 weeks starting in July 2013. Federal guidelines and eligibility requirements must be met in order for youth to participate in the program.
In past years, the summer job they received through The WorkPlace was their first meaningful and paid work experience. The youth who were accepted into the program (having met all eligibility requirements) completed a full week of “work readiness” workshops to ensure they would know what is expected in professional work environments. Once they began their new jobs, they learned on-the-job skills under the supervision of their work sites. Whether in a law office, hospital, manufacturing plant, small business, government agency, or non-profit, their work often helped employers tackle projects that would not otherwise have been completed. A number of the older youth have received job offers for full-time year-round jobs, a key indicator that their employers were pleased with the experience. This would have been possible without the support of local employers.
Click here to apply online for the 2013 Earn & Learn Summer Employment program. Please note that applications will be accepted until 4pm EST on Friday, May 24, 2013. Applications completed after that time will not be accepted or considered.Close
Sky Valley Chronicle: The Dirty Little Secret of Improving Unemployment
May 5, 2013 - Sky Valley Chronicle article (NATIONAL) -- You may have heard the good news this week about the improving employment picture for Americans in the still fragile economic recovery from th ... Continue
May 5, 2013 - Sky Valley Chronicle article
(NATIONAL) -- You may have heard the good news this week about the improving employment picture for Americans in the still fragile economic recovery from the brutal Great Recession.
The latest report from the Labor Department Friday seemed to bolster the theory that the U.S. job market is improving despite higher taxes and government spending cuts that took effect this year.
U.S. employers added 165,000 jobs in April and hiring was much stronger in the previous two months than the government first estimated.
Those job increases helped reduce the unemployment rate from 7.6 percent to a four-year low of 7.5 percent.
The only sectors of the economy that cut jobs last month were construction and government.
But behind those rosy numbers lies a dirty little secret: capitalism seems to have no further use for anyone over the age of 55.
A charge that sounds a bit strong? Go talk with someone 55 and older who has been looking for a job.
OVER 55 AND LOOKING FOR WORK: A STRUGGLE
A new report by the Public Broadcasting System (PBS) says that despite the rosier jobs picture in April, for those Americans ages 55 or older who have been unemployed long-term, "the prospect of finding work is greatly limited."
And that may be putting it mildly.
A recent PBS report centered on "The Work Place," a job training center in Bridgeport, Connecticut and the report highlights the massive hurdle that older workers are up against in an American economy where employers seem to want only the youngest, cheapest workers they can find.
Joe Carbone runs The Workplace and he knows what these people are up against. " I was unemployed once for eight-and-a-half months. I used to drive 20 miles to do a little grocery shopping so I wouldn't meet anybody who would be able to look at me and ask, “Did you get a job yet?” So, I know what it can do," said Carbone to PBS.
One woman sitting at the table with Carbone said, "I have been on the Internet daily, all day, eight hours a day. I can't find anything."
The reality for the over-55 worker is scary and even scarier for the more than four million Americans who remain out of work six months or more.
"For those 55 and older, it takes about a year on average to find work, longer than for any other age group," says the PBS report.
Joe Carbone: "They're carrying a double whammy, not just the long-term unemployment, but they're 50 and older. It makes things that are bad even worse."
THE FIRST TO GO, LAST TO COME BACK
From the report:
Fifty-nine-year-old facilities manager Frank Rende lost his job four years ago. Rende says, "We got here in the first place because we were in the highest salary range. We were the first to go. We're going to be the last to come back."
Software developer Geoffrey Weglarz, 55, has been looking for two years. He says he's applied for 481 jobs.
Weglarz says none of those applications has produced a thing because,"They (employers) think that anybody over a certain age is going to be used up."
Asked if she thinks employers are purposely trying to screen out older workers from being hired, unsuccessful job seeker Debora Ducksworth says, "Exactly. And now I'm thinking, I'm going to be 60 in October. Is anyone ever going to hire me?"
Is it age discrimination? Boston College did a survey a few years ago where they asked Human Resources people how they viewed older workers. The survey found that " human resource managers were skeptical of workers like those in Bridgeport. They said they worried about their ability to learn new things, about their physical stamina and basically how long are they going to stay."
Essentially the HR types, when looking at the whole picture of "their assessment of older workers, you really wouldn't go out of your way to hire one."
And there's another reason employers might not want to hire an older worker: If things don't work out, will they be sued?
Mary Corbin thinks so. She believes that age is the reason she was let go a year-and-a-half ago. "No one under 50 was laid off, and it was a large amount of people. In the package that they gave everyone, they emphasized, for signing the package, you will not come back and sue us for age discrimination," said Corbin.
There's yet another strike against the older worker who needs a job just as badly as a younger person needs one.
Some employers say the older worker gets "more expensive on the health care front just because they have more ailments," according to the report.
AND ALL THIS HAS BEEN GOING ON FOR A VERY LONG TIME
According to unemployment stats from January of 2011, "Thirty percent of those who are jobless have been unemployed a year or more (long-term unemployment) as of December 2010. Equaling 4.2 million people — roughly the population of Kentucky — this is 25 percent more people affected by long-term unemployment than a year prior (December 2009, 3.4 million)….Using the CPS data, Pew calculated that the persistent problem of long-term unemployment is occurring across education and age groups but those who are older than 55 are most likely to remain jobless for a year or more.
Additionally, a high level of education only provides limited protection against long-term unemployment — the rates are similar across degree attainment: 31 percent of unemployed workers with a bachelor’s degree have been out of work for a year or more, compared to 36 percent of high school graduates and 33 percent of high school drop-outs."
In May of last year a Forbes report said, "Talk about the dangers of losing your job at age 50 plus. Older workers who lost their jobs during the Great Recession experienced steep pay cuts when they became reemployed...if they were lucky enough to get new jobs at all.
Median monthly earnings declined 23 percent after an unemployment spell for reemployed workers aged 50 to 61, compared with just 11 percent for workers aged 25 to 34, according to the Urban Institute report. For workers 62 and older, post-unemployment earnings plummeted nearly in half (47%), although most of the decline in that age group stemmed from a shift toward part-time employment. “For many workers laid off during and after the Great Recession, the financial ramifications of job loss may persist for the rest of their lives,” the report, Age Disparities in Unemployment and Reemployment during the Great Recession and Recovery, by Richard W. Johnson and Barbara A. Butrica, concludes.
So what happens to the older worker as the worker goes month after month with no job, sometimes stretching into a year or more?
They go through all their savings and 401K retirement plans. That's what happened to older worker Geoffrey Weglarz. He went through everything and then said, "My last unemployment check is next week. I have about $2,000 dollars to my name, and, after that, I don't know...I have no fallback position. I'm behind on my mortgage. I'm on food stamps, and I'm on financial hardship for both electricity and for gas."
Joe Carbone who runs The Workplace notes, "We have got special programs here for veterans, and we should, for people with disabilities, and we should, you know, for dislocated workers, and we should. We see a new population that are unemployable because of the length of their unemployment occurring during the worst recession since the Great Depression, and we're just ignoring them, ignoring them.
I can't tell you what that does to me. I love this country so much, but I can't imagine that we would ever leave any of our citizens, any of our brothers and sisters, to be part of a process that's declaring them hopeless. And that's what's going on."
The full PBS report can be found here.Close
PBS NewsHour: Brutal Job Search Reality for Older Americans Out of Work for Six Months or More
May 3 - Despite a rosier jobs picture in April, for Americans ages 55 or older who have been unemployed long-term, the prospect of finding work is greatly limited. Economic correspondent Paul Sol ... Continue
May 3 - Despite a rosier jobs picture in April, for Americans ages 55 or older who have been unemployed long-term, the prospect of finding work is greatly limited. Economic correspondent Paul Solman explores why older workers face joblessness and considerable financial strain. Click here to watch the video. Close
Progress Illinois: Job Assistance For Veterans And Long-Term Unemployed Comes To Chicago
May 2 - Progress Illinois article Upon returning home last year from serving two years in the U.S. Army, Asma Njesada said her greatest challenge was finding a job. “I couldn’t underst ... Continue
May 2 - Progress Illinois article
Upon returning home last year from serving two years in the U.S. Army, Asma Njesada said her greatest challenge was finding a job.Close
“I couldn’t understand what was wrong with me,” said the 25 year-old Dallas resident.
After being unemployed for more than six months, Njesada turned to Platform to Employment (P2E) for help.
P2E provides veterans and the long-term unemployed with job training and placement. The initiative launched a nationwide pilot program this year, and started accepting applications in Chicago last month.
The WorkPlace, southwestern Connecticut’s regional Workforce Development Board, started the program back in 2011 and it expanded to Dallas in February. Njesada took a five-week preparation course via the P2E program and was connected with a personal job developer who helped her improve her interviewing skills.
“The program changed my life,” she said.
On May 27, Njesada was hired-on as a human resources manager for Baker Brother Services (BBS), a company that provides accounting and human resources services to Home Depot.
“It’s a great feeling to be in the workforce again,” Njesada said. “Having a career is very important to me.”
In Illinois, the program is looking for applicants who are at least 50 years-old and have exhausted 26 weeks or more of unemployment. The Illinois program is also being offered to veterans that are aged 30 and under. Applications for Illinois residents are being accepted until May 10.
There are 24 available slots and classes are scheduled to start May 20.
“We need to get people back to work in a way that we haven’t done before,” said Karin Norington-Reaves, chief executive officer of the Chicago Cook Workforce Partnership. According to Norington-Reaves, Chicagoland’s P2E program has already received more than 600 applications.
The Chicago Cook Workforce Partnership is partnering with The WorkPlace to bring P2E to the Chicagoland area.
Norington-Reaves said individuals who haven’t been in the workforce for an extended period of time, such as veterans and the long-term unemployed, face unique barriers such as unfamiliarity with online applications and social media.
“If you haven’t been in the workforce for a long time and haven’t been in the process of trying to enter the workforce for a long time ... You’ve really got to get a new understanding of how to get through the process just to get hired,” she said.
As of last year, unemployment rates for people between the ages of 50 and 65 had more than doubled since the 2008 economic downturn. That demographic saw the largest increases in unemployment during the recession.
Unemployment rates for veterans are also staggeringly high, reaching an average of 9.9 percent in 2012, which is well above last year’s national average of 8.1 percent. As of January, 205,000 of the veterans that served in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars were unemployed.
“Nobody in this program is handed a job, or guaranteed a job, but what we’re trying to do is get people ready to go out and demonstrate to an employer they have value and should be considered,” said Tom Long, the vice president of communications and development for The WorkPlace.
The five-week course offers interviewing techniques, networking development, resume building exercises, financial education and behavioral health services, which are also offered to the participants’ families. Each participant is assigned a personal job developer upon completion of the course. The developer's job is to help the participant set-up interviews and also coach them through the application process.
The program also offers up to eight weeks of partial wage reimbursement for employers.
The American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) has signed on to help fund the P2E fund program, specifically for the training of the long-term unemployed who are aged 50 older. The Walmart Foundation is supporting the training for veterans and Citi Community Development is providing financial education.
The first P2E program in Bridgeport, Connecticut saw 65 of 100 participants permanently placed in jobs. This year, the program has expanded to Dallas, Boston, Denver, Detroit, Miami, Minneapolis, San Francisco, San Diego, Cincinnati and Chicago.
“There is a significant demand for initiatives such as this in Chicagoland,” said Norington-Reaves. “Our intent is to use this as an opportunity to try and garner additional attention and funds to support this initiative and eventually make it a sustainable program."
With the curriculum based off Connecticut’s pioneer program, Chicago’s classes, which run from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Thursday, are being hosted at Chicago's DeVry University, at 225 West Washington St.
Njesada if it hadn’t been for P2E she doesn’t know where she would be today, adding that her job provides her a “decent wage” and health insurance.
“When I got out of the military I was very optimistic about finding a job, but after months and months past I lost hope,” she said. “The P2E program really boosted by confidence.”
“P2E gave me what I needed to find what I was looking for — I feel normal again.”
FOXBusiness: Long-Term Unemployed: Hidden and Hurt
Published April 24, 2013 by Christina Scotti Two men named Bob. Both are over fifty. Both had been working consistently for nearly three decades before losing their jobs in 2009. Both were out of wor ... Continue
Published April 24, 2013 by Christina Scotti
Two men named Bob. Both are over fifty. Both had been working consistently for nearly three decades before losing their jobs in 2009. Both were out of work for more than 99 weeks.
Now there is one glaring difference. Bob Greeney is employed. Bob Sullivan is still fighting to get back into the workforce.
Friendly and candid, the 61-year-old Mr. Sullivan worked in the travel hospitality industry until his former company closed its Boston branch. After taking a brief pause to care for his mother, he said he went through job agencies, attended job fairs and applied to scores of jobs online.
“Still, no bites,” said Mr. Sullivan, whose ongoing search, day in and day out, continues. “It’s just a malaise you fall into. It’s like having a slow disease, especially if you get rejected or don’t hear back.”
The battle to get back to work is indisputably grueling, and Mr. Sullivan and the other roughly 4.7 million people who have been unemployed for over six months know all too well that as each month goes by the stigma of long-term unemployment can make it increasingly more challenging to find work
“If someone is out of work for a while the perception from employers is that there must be something wrong with you, and after a couple of years the people themselves begin to believe they don’t have any value, that it’s over for them,” said Joe Carbone, creator of Platform to Employment, a five-week program that focuses on retraining and placing “99ers” into eight-week internships with the possibility of that turning into a job. The term “99ers” refers to those out of work for 99 weeks or longer and whose unemployment benefits have run out.
“We don’t see bread lines. But that despair is there, it’s just behind closed doors,” said Mr. Carbone.
Hopelessness, coupled with the waiting, rejection and the isolation that’s often associated with long-term unemployment, are not the only issues this group faces. Simply applying to open job postings in the first place isn’t always a given. Employers looking to hire can legally discriminate against the long-term unemployed.
“Telling a person, ‘don’t apply if you’re out of work,’ was widespread,’’ said Mr. Carbone, who is also president of The WorkPlace, a non-profit devoted to assisting the long-term unemployed. “But the companies who still do it have become wiser and try to put a positive spin on it by saying ‘must be employed’ instead.”
Mr. Greeney spent twenty-nine years as a sports writer for a number of local newspapers before being let go as part of the consolidation effort after The Stamford Advocate was bought by Hearst Media four years ago.
“I naively thought I’d be okay,” said Mr. Greeney, 55. “I knew I was a hard worker, that I could multitask, deal with deadlines and deal with people.”
He said he was disheartened to realize that most workers over 50 are not given the chance to reinvent themselves in a new career, and that the job market, which has roughly 300 job applicants for every one job opening, was so stagnant.
“June 24th, 2009 until May 2nd, 2012. I was out of work for 1,044 days,” he said.
Finally, in May 2012, three years after being laid off and following a round of testing and interviews, Mr. Greeney got a job as a Metro North ticket collector in New York City. Mr. Greeney, who was connected to his current employer through the Platform to Employment program, said he was grateful for the opportunity.
“It was my first, best and only offer I got,” said Mr. Greeney, who went without insurance after his Cobra coverage ran out in October 2010.
Taking a job outside your chosen industry was not always encouraged, said Mr. Carbone. But now it’s not even a question.
“Once you’re in a job, you’re in an entirely different category with better job options in the future,” he said.
According to the numbers, the pervasiveness of long-term unemployment cuts through all walks of life, with gender, race and education all having a relatively similar percentage among the long-term unemployed.
The only group that stands out among the long-term unemployed is older workers, with almost half of the 3.5 million currently out of work for over a year at 45 or older, according to the Department of Labor.
“It’s not new that older workers have a more challenging time,” said Joan Cirillo, the president of Operation ABLE, a Boston-based non-profit helping the 45 and older age bracket. She explained that in the last four years they’ve seen things become increasingly dire for more people.
“There are a lot of pre-retirees who would have liked to retire but lost a big portion of their portfolio,” she said. “And those who don’t find anything wind up living a limited life, tapping into their 401k and many then becoming discouraged workers.”
The number of “discouraged workers,” which describes those who want to work but have given up on ever finding employment, is currently 6.8 million, according to a new report from the National Employment Law Project (NELP). And while these people are not counted in the official unemployment rate, the group continues to grow.
“This situation is exactly what you would expect given how bad the recession was and how weak the recovery has been,” said Heidi Shierholz, an economist from the Economic Policy Institute in Washington, D.C.
She said that while ‘technology taking over’ and ‘doing more with less manpower’ are two popular conversation pieces, neither narrative is particularly true.
“It really captures the imagination of public discourse, but if people were really doing more with less we’d see an acceleration of productivity growth,” said Ms. Shierholz. “The real reason there isn’t a pickup in hiring is employers are not seeing the demand.
The proposal to raise minimum wage, according to Ms. Shierholz, is also not a big job killer, though it might seem threatening. Citing a Center for Economic and Policy Research study by John Schmitt, she said the findings conclude, “that the minimum wage has little or no discernible effect on the employment prospects of low-wage workers.”
Ms. Shierholz said the best way to alleviate the anguish would be if the government stepped in with fiscal stimulus because with interest rates at near zero and so many austerity measures in place, including recent cuts from sequestration, she believes government intervention is the only way to spur much-needed growth in the economy.
“[Long-term unemployment] is a total human disaster,” said Ms. Shierholz. “Letting this huge group of people languish, it’s a huge, glaring symptom of needing to get jobs back more broadly.”
At both Platform to Employment and Operation ABLE, a primary focus is addressing the emotional needs of the long-term unemployed: the crippling loss of confidence that plays deeply into the psyches of so many.
Mr. Carbone, P2E’s creator, knows firsthand how it feels to be out of work. He said 16 years ago he was laid off and during his time between jobs he would travel twenty miles from his home so that he wouldn’t have to go to his local grocery where he knew people.
“My wife got concerned when I started watching soap operas instead of cleaning up the house,” said Mr. Carbone. “You just begin to lose that element of faith in yourself. You’re suffering from a deprivation of hope.”
The Platform to Employment is trying to revive that hope, and soon its training program, which is free to those who are accepted, is going to be offered in 10 different cities across the U.S. with a focus on helping people 50 and older. (AARP is one of the sponsors.)
Operation ABLE, which offers 6-13 week retraining classes that teach everything from computer and interviewing skills to getting internships to actually finding a job, is steadfast in its role.
“We work with them until they find work,” said Mr. Cirillo. “We stick with them like glue and see the training as a means to an end -- and the end is a good job.”
Bob Sullivan is currently enrolled in one of Operation ABLE’s training programs that was paid for through SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) benefits. The former travel representative is eager for any type of work.
“I enjoy working with the public and I’m good with customer service,” said Mr. Sullivan. “I am very reliable and I still feel very young.”
Bob Greeney also feels young -- especially now that he no longer has the stress of finding work weighing down on him.
“Every day it was ‘Am I going to get hired? Will I ever get hired?’” said Mr. Greeney. “So after my interview with Metro North, I walked down to St. Patrick’s Cathedral and said a prayer.”
Mr. Greeney found out he got the job right before Christmas, on his mother’s seventy-ninth birthday. (He was hired in December 2011, but did not officially start until May 2012.)
“It was fantastic. There had been a lot of despair and she felt like her prayers had been answered,” he said.
Four years after the official end of this recession, Mr. Carbone said there needs to be more done surrounding this issue -- in both preventing discrimination through legislation and incentivizing companies to hire the long-term unemployed.
“We can’t give up,” he said. “As this economy gets back on its feet, sometimes I think [the long-term unemployed] are the sacrificial lambs and by being passive and not speaking out in support, it makes us all complicit in their demise, and there is something very un-American about that.”Close
The San Diego Union-Tribune: A boost for veterans, long-term unemployed
April 16, 2013 - By Jonathan Horn Finding a job in this economy isn't easy. But it's even harder if you've been unemployed for a long time or are a veteran. Even though overall unemployment is c ... Continue
April 16, 2013 - By Jonathan Horn
Finding a job in this economy isn't easy.
But it's even harder if you've been unemployed for a long time or are a veteran.
Even though overall unemployment is coming down, the figures for the long-term unemployed and veterans are not coming down as quickly.
But a program launching in San Diego on Wednesday aims to give veterans under 30 and long-term unemployed people over 50 a boost in the job search.
Platform to Employment - privately funded by several corporations and foundations - is a free, five-week program of job training at the South Metro Career Center. After training, participants are placed with an employer, with the first four weeks on the job subsidized by the program. San Diego is one of 10 cities across the country to host Platform to Employment, which started last year in Connecticut.
The initial class includes 20 people over age 50 who have been unemployed for six months or longer, and four veterans under the age of 30.
Since national unemployment peaked at 10 percent in October 2009, the number of Americans unemployed long-term has fallen by 130,000. However, the long-term unemployed still made up 39.6 percent of the jobless in March.
People who are unemployed long-term face more challenges in finding a job because employers may wonder why they have been out of work for so long, and could be concerned their skills have diminished. This program aims to retool those abilities.
"People who have flipped over into long-term unemployment really run the risk of never becoming re-employed in traditional employment," said Emily Allen, vice President of the AARP Foundation, which is putting up $100,000 for the program locally. "You're 59 years old, you're just kind of holding on until you take Social Security at 62, but the long-term impact is that's a lower amount of Social Security throughout your life course, and you tee yourself up for long-term instability."
Gustavo Bidart, regional director of Citi Community Development, based in San Diego, said his group is supporting the financial planning lessons that will be part of the curriculum.
"You have all these unemployed individuals who are trying to get back into the workforce – there are probably financial issues that might have crept up during unemployment," he said, noting the lessons would be provided by the nonprofit Community Housing Works. Across the country, Citi Community Development is kicking in $400,000 for the lessons.
The unemployment rate for veterans who served in Afghanistan and Iraq is 9.2 percent in March, down from 14.2 percent in March 2010 (those figures are not seasonally adjusted). Veterans can face challenges in "civilianizing" their resumes, for example, turning surveillance in the military into a term that can be relevant to a job.
San Diego County's February unemployment rate was an unadjusted 8 percent, lowest in more than four years. The March numbers will be released Friday.
A nonprofit called TheWorkplace founded the program last year in Bridgeport, Conn.Close
Seeking vendors to provide training for diverse populations including people with disabilities.
The WorkPlace seeks qualified providers of behavioral guidance, coaching, and diversity topics training to provide services to program participants and training to workforce development system s ... Continue
The WorkPlace seeks qualified providers of behavioral guidance, coaching, and diversity topics training to provide services to program participants and training to workforce development system staff. Topics covered will include motivation, overcoming barriers to employment, target population law and advocacy, job readiness and retention. The objective is to increase the marketability of the region’s job seekers including working with people with disabilities and LGBT individuals with disabilities.
Please visit the RFP section on the bottom right side of this page for further details.Close
Looking for Input for the Bridgeport Environmental Workforce Job Training Program
In April The WorkPlace will be applying to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for the Environmental Workforce Job Training Program that will focus its efforts on providing training and j ... Continue
In April The WorkPlace will be applying to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for the Environmental Workforce Job Training Program that will focus its efforts on providing training and job placement services to the residents of the City of Bridgeport that live in neighborhoods impacted by Brownfields and other environmental hazards.
At this time, The WorkPlace is requesting input from local non-profit human service agencies, environmental remediation employers, the City of Bridgeport and the general public as to what population should be eligible for training; what type of training should be provided; and what kind of supports should be offered to trainees. The WorkPlace will consider any offerings of in-kind services or support that will contribute to the success of participants of this program.
To provide input or to ask questions concerning this announcement please contact L. Nicole Solomon at (203) 610-8566 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
WORKFORCE: The United States Conference of Mayors Workforce Development Council
Page 3 - Hope for Long Term Jobless - Platform to Employment AS SEEN ON 60 MINUTESThe best network in several cities is not NBC, CBS, ABC or FOX. And this network certainly doesn’t feature &ldq ... Continue
Page 3 - Hope for Long Term Jobless - Platform to Employment
AS SEEN ON 60 MINUTES
This network—10 Centers of Hope—began with one program in Bridgeport, Connecticut and operated by the local workforce board and its tireless executive, Joe Carbone.
He heads up a non-profit known as The WorkPlace that relies on federal Workforce Investment Act dollars to support expenses associated with its One Stop employment and training operation.
As the recession produced more and more layoffs, Carbone realized federal funds weren’t sufficient enough to meet local need. So he approached receptive business leaders to bankroll a new program to get long term jobless citizens back to work.
This public-private partnership produced Platform to Employment, a rigorous program featuring preemployment classroom instruction coupled with an eight-week try out job.
“P2E provided socially responsive businesses the opportunity to try out workers at no cost and no risk,” said Carbone.
The impressive program results drew the attention of 60 Minutes and newsman Scott Pelley. He found that P2E placed 80% of its participants from the classroom into the eight week work experience, and 90% of those individuals were offered regular full time work.
Carbone understood that people who find themselves unemployed for long periods of time become discouraged and depressed. Platform to Employment provided the motivation and critical job skills to successfully re-enter the job force.
Thanks to several new corporate sponsors and foundations—Citi Community Development, AARP Foundation and the Wal-Mart Foundation—the WorkPlace will open 10 Centers of Hope featuring the P2E program.
Dallas, Texas became the first facility to open in 2013. Laurie Bouillion Larrea, president, Workforce Solutions Greater Dallas is very proud to join the P2E network. “In a post recession environment, we have customized the program to
Larrea added, “We also included several younger veterans returning from war. In only three weeks, three of our job seekers have already returned to work. The program is yielding amazing results and positive feedback.”
“Government action alone is not enough,” said Carbone. “Strong corporate citizens are essential partners in leading the long term unemployed back to work.”
Cincinnati.com: Jobs plan launches for vets, older workers. Cincinnati latest city to test new program.
Cincinnati.com by Dan Horn Cincinnati became the latest stop Monday for a national program that helps unemployed military veterans and people over 50 find jobs. The Platform to Employment program, w ... Continue
Cincinnati.com by Dan Horn
Cincinnati became the latest stop Monday for a national program that helps unemployed military veterans and people over 50 find jobs.
The Platform to Employment program, which officially launched here Monday, provides assistance to two groups hit especially hard by the recession and its aftermath.
Veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan are unemployed at higher rates than the national average, and people over 50 tend to stay unemployed longer than workers in any other group.
The program provides training, family support services, financial counseling and on-the-job experience that often lead to full-time work. The first 20 participants here have been unemployed for between six months and four years.
“You will not be alone,” the program’s founder, Joseph Carbone, told participants Monday.
The program launched in Connecticut and received national attention last year after being featured on “60 Minutes.” Organizers are now expanding it to Cincinnati and at least nine other cities.
The first class already is filled, but Carbone said he’d like to add more classes in the future. Raymond Ross, 55, said he hopes Platform to Employment will help him find a full-time job for the first time in more than three years.
“I’ve tried everything else,” said Ross, a Sharonville man who worked for Toyota in Hebron for almost a decade before getting laid off. “It’s pretty much paycheck to paycheck now. We’re just surviving.”
The board and the WorkPlace will oversee the program locally, with financial support from the AARP Foundation, Citi Community Development and the Walmart Foundation.Close
The Norwalk Hour: WorkPlace Inc. program puts Norwalker back to work
By LEE HIGGINS, Hour Correspondent Photo by The Norwalk Hour, Erik Trautmann NORWALK -- David Wasserman recalls telling his two young children at the dinner table in 2009 that he lost his job ... Continue
By LEE HIGGINS, Hour Correspondent
Photo by The Norwalk Hour, Erik Trautmann
NORWALK -- David Wasserman recalls telling his two young children at the dinner table in 2009 that he lost his job of more than 12 years as a senior fund accountant at a Greenwich real estate investment company.
"It was devastating to tell your kids that your father's not working," said Wasserman of the conversation with his then 10-year-old son and 6-year-old daughter at his family's Norwalk home. "I tried to explain to them that times are tough and there are a lot of people that were in our situation."
Wasserman, who received a severance package that helped soften the blow of being laid off that May, immediately filed for unemployment. As months passed, he searched online for jobs, networked and interviewed, but couldn't secure a full-time position. After 99 weeks, Wasserman exhausted his unemployment benefits, becoming a "99er," joining hundreds of thousands of other Americans.
"As time went on, you started wondering when something was going to happen," he said. "The longer you go, the lesser the chance you have of finding work. A lot of employers still go with the stigma that unemployed people are lazy."
With pressure mounting to find a job, Wasserman received a letter from the state Department of Labor, detailing a program, "Platform to Employment," (P2E) run by The WorkPlace, a regional workforce development board based in Bridgeport.
The privately-funded program, which recently announced a national expansion, offered Wasserman five weeks of career training if he was accepted into it. Then, if he completed the training and found a job, the program would pay his salary for eight weeks, giving an employer a risk-free opportunity to evaluate him. Wasserman and 391 other people, who were classified as long-term unemployed, applied for 100 spots. Wasserman was accepted, finished the training and landed a job in December of 2011 as a maintenance worker at The Kennedy Center, a non-profit that supports the disabled. Although the maintenance position wasn\'t his first pick, it gave him an opportunity to show center staff his work ethic during a trial period. When a junior accounting position opened up several months later at the center's Trumbull office, he got the job.
"It felt good," said Wasserman, 50, who has lived in Norwalk almost 20 years. "The fact of the matter is, I'm back to work."
A national expansion
Platform to Employment launched in 2010 and held its first classes in Connecticut in the fall of 2011 after raising $600,000 in private money from donors including the Bank of Fairfield and JPMorgan Chase Foundation. Out of 100 people accepted into the five classes, 91 completed the training and 73 landed a tryout with a company. Sixty-five of them were hired after the tryout. Through P2E, job seekers are taught how to tighten up their resumes, use social media to promote themselves and get their finances in order. They also have a chance to meet with a mental health professional to prepare them for their return to work. AARP heard about the program and sponsored two more classes. Private donations are currently being sought to hold additional classes in Connecticut.
"The goal here is to help people who are forgotten and in some cases discriminated against get back to work," said Tom Long, vice president of marketing and communications for The WorkPlace.
Now, with the support of the AARP Foundation, Citi Community Development and Walmart Foundation, the program is partnering with regional workforce boards across the country to launch P2E pilots in 10 major cities, including Boston, Detroit and San Francisco. The effort, backed by $1.5 million in private donations, started with a pilot program in Dallas that launched in early February. It is targeting the long-term unemployed over age 50 and some military veterans. As of December, 4.8 million Americans were unemployed for 27 weeks or longer.
In announcing the P2E pilot in Dallas, Bob Annibale, Citi\'s Global Director of Community Development, said in a prepared statement that Citi was pleased to help "support unemployed Texans in rebuilding their professional and financial identities."
"Platform to Employment has proven success in focusing on the needs of those who often worked for decades before becoming longterm unemployed and who now face significant challenges in securing employment while also managing a different household financial situation," he said.
Wasserman is proof the P2E program works. It can be a valuable tool for a job seeker willing to put in the effort, he said.
"Good things can happen when you put your mind to it," Wasserman said.Close
ABC News - One Solution to Long-Term Unemployment
ABC News - February 27 2013 Alan Farnham Long-term unemployment: "The invisible problem," Joe Carbone calls it, because so many of the 6 million workers affected are too ashamed or too despondent to ... Continue
ABC News - February 27 2013
Long-term unemployment: "The invisible problem," Joe Carbone calls it, because so many of the 6 million workers affected are too ashamed or too despondent to talk about it:
Six million Americans--many of them older--have been out of work so long (two years or more) that they have exhausted all their unemployment benefits. Many have depleted their savings. Yet they have little hope of landing a job, partly because employers discriminate against them.
Carbone thinks he's found a solution to their problem: P2E.
Carbone is CEO of The Workplace, a work force development program in Connecticut that serves the needs of employers and job-seekers alike. Two years ago, under Carbone's leadership, it came up with "Platform to Employment" (P2E), a five week find-a-job program tailored to the older, long-term unemployed.
The total number of graduates so far is small—only 131. But P2E's record of success is so impressive--87 percent of graduates have found full-time work—that a consortium of employers, philanthropies and interest groups, including AARP, Wal-Mart and Citigroup, now is poised to clone P2E and roll it out across 10 cities.
The fist clone opened in Dallas two weeks ago. The second will open Monday in Cincinatti. After that, additional offices will open at the rate of one a month in Boston, Chicago, San Francisco, Miami and other cities.
During each five-week program, 20 people at a time are coached on such skills as public speaking and self-presentation. Therapists, psychologists and psychiatrists help promote self esteem and self confidence. Financial counselors help the participants to repair their credit ratings and get their finances in order. "A wholistic approach," Carbone calls it. Finally, P2E helps match graduates with job openings.
The cost per student runs about $6,000, says Carbone, with the money coming mostly from donations. The amount includes a subsidy that allows a potential employer to "test drive" a graduate at no cost: During the test period, P2E is paying the graduate's salary, not the potential employer. The expectation is that somebody who performs well and meets expectations will then be offered a full-time job on the employer's payroll. This approach, says Carbone, has opened doors for an older, long-term unemployed candidate.
The addition of each new P2E center Carbone views not just as an opportunity to put people to work but an opportunity to educate employers and the public about the depth of the plight of the long-term unemployed. Carbone says he never ceases to be amazed how many people don't know that the problem exists.
"Some of the smartest people I know act surprised," he says. The long-term unemployed have no advocacy group to speak for them. They come from every walk of life. "They're disconnected." And their hopes have been beaten down so long that many must contend with depression or other forms of mental illness. In round-table sessions with program participants, says Carbone, it's not unusual to hear people say that they've considered suicide.
"The one thing they have in common," he says, "is a sense of hopelessness."
Some have no idea what hit them. "Most have been through other recessions, where, when recovery came, you went back to work for the boss who'd laid you off." This recession hasn't fit that model. Unemployment benefits were extended, then extended again and again. "They waited too long," Carbone says of his students. "It wasn't their fault." But they awoke one day to find themselves viewed by potential employers as lazy or out of touch or as equipped with skills that now are out of date.
"It's a terrible thing to get up every day and realize your chances of ever being able to restore your footing in the labor market are getting shakier and shakier," Carbone says. "You actually see ads that say: Long-term unemployed need not apply."
The problem that they pose, he thinks, is a moral one.
"We as a country can decide not to take any positive action to help them," he says. "But in doing so, we are complicit in their being severed from one of the most basic rights of being an American: opportunity. Every day they're unemployed and the workforce does not provide them with the tools and services they need to compete they will grow more dependent on entitlement programs, become increasingly more hopeless."
Their sheer numbers make them bigger than almost any another "special population" in need. What's the difference, he asks, between their plight and the plight of folks who lose their homes to a natural disaster? If the federal government tells disaster victims, "We're going to do whatever it takes you get you back on your feet," why not say the same for the older unemployed?
The public, he says, is going to have to pay one way or the other—either $6,000 upfront, through a program like P2E, to help them find their way back to being self-supporting taxpayers; or, on the back end, at a far greater cost when they turn for survival to whatever may remain of the social safety net.Close
Dress For Success and JCPenney Encourage Shoppers To Round Up Purchases Throughout The Month Of February
For the First Time, jcp cares Supporters will be Able to Round Up Purchases at jcp.com As part of its charitable giving program, jcp cares, jcpenney is inviting its customers to round up their purcha ... Continue
For the First Time, jcp cares Supporters will be Able to Round Up Purchases at jcp.com
As part of its charitable giving program, jcp cares, jcpenney is inviting its customers to round up their purchases in February to the nearest whole dollar and donate the difference to benefit Dress for Success, an organization that promotes the economic independence of disadvantaged women by providing professional attire, a network of support and the career development tools to help women thrive in work and in life. Through its dedicated services and programs Dress for Success addresses every phase of a woman’s career—from being unemployed and searching, to recently employed and adjusting, to gainfully employed and succeeding.
“A cornerstone component of Dress for Success is the idea of people helping people -- that we must all work together to succeed. One of the best things about this partnership with jcpenney is that it calls the community into action. Anyone and everyone can play a role in helping an unemployed woman enter the workforce, which we know helps her, her family, her community and our economy,” said Joi Gordon, CEO of Dress for Success Worldwide. “We recognize that there are an immeasurable number of obstacles that women face in today’s economic climate and, with jcpenney’s support, we will be able to expand the assistance that we provide to more than 65,000 women each year to overcome them.”
About Dress for Success
Dress for Success is an international not-for-profit organization that promotes the economic independence of disadvantaged women by providing professional attire, a network of support and the career development tools to help women thrive in work and in life. Since starting operations in 1997, Dress for Success has expanded to more than 120 cities in 13 countries. Dress for Success Mid-Fairfield County, 240 Fairfield Avenue, Bridgeport, is the local affiliate.
More than a century ago, James Cash Penney founded his company on the principle of the Golden Rule: treat others the way you\'d like to be treated – Fair and Square. His legacy continues to this day, as J. C. Penney Company, Inc. (NYSE: JCP) boldly transforms the retail experience across 1,100 stores and jcp.com to become America\'s favorite store. Focused on making the customer experience better every day, jcpenney is dreaming up new ways to make customers love shopping again. On every visit, customers will discover great prices every day in a unique Shops environment that features exceptionally curated merchandise, a dynamic presentation and unmatched customer service. For more information, visit us at jcp.com.Close
The Dallas Morning News: New Dallas program will help find work for military veterans and the long-term unemployed
February 4, 2013 The Dallas Morning News By Sheryl Jean A new program just launched in Dallas to help unemployed people who are 50 or older and military veterans – two groups that have had a ... Continue
February 4, 2013
The Dallas Morning News
By Sheryl Jean
A new program just launched in Dallas to help unemployed people who are 50 or older and military veterans – two groups that have had a hard time returning to the workforce since the recession began in late 2007.
Dallas is the first stop in a 10-city rollout of the Platform to Employment (P2E) program, which launched in Connecticut. The program was announced today.
Participants will go through five weeks of training, including skills assessment and financial coaching, and then start an eight-week subsidized internship at a local company that could turn into a full-time job.
The P2E program received national attention after being featured on CBS’ 60 Minutes television show a year ago. Joe Carbone, president of The WorkPlace Inc. regional Workforce Development Board in Bridgeport, Conn., started it in fall 2011.
In Dallas, Workforce Solutions Greater Dallas will run the public-private program with help from The WorkPlace and the YWCA of Metropolitan Dallas. The AARP Foundation, Citi Community Development and the Walmart Foundation — will grant at least $950,000 total to finance the initial expansion 10 cities, according to the parties.
The Dallas program will start with 24 participants who were chosen based on criteria, including: being out of work for at least 26 weeks, actively seeking work and responsive to the program. Four are female veterans age 30 or younger.
Forbes.com: How to Get the Long-Term Unemployed Back to Work
January 25, 2013 Richard Eisenberg, Contributor Although things seem to be looking up on the job front (claims for state unemployment benefits just fell to their lowest level since January 2008), th ... Continue
January 25, 2013
Richard Eisenberg, Contributor
Although things seem to be looking up on the job front (claims for state unemployment benefits just fell to their lowest level since January 2008), the same can’t be said for America’s long-term unemployed, especially those over 50.
2 Programs That Could Help the Jobless
I’m hopeful, however, that two novel ventures could help put some of those recession victims back to work.
The first is the national rollout of the successful Platform to Employment program created by Joe Carbone at The WorkPlace in western Connecticut.
You may have seen last year’s 60 Minutes piece about Carbone’s novel approach to getting the long-term unemployed back to work. I blogged about Platform to Employment around that time.
A National Platform to Employment Rollout
Platform to Employment gives jobless people five weeks of training to restore their confidence, freshen their interviewing and tech skills and reduce their stress. Then the program places them as interns for eight weeks at a local employer.
At the end of the internships, the employers decide whether to offer the interns paid positions.
Most of them do.
“We’ve had a success rate of 75 percent,” says Carbone, president and chief executive officer of The WorkPlace. “Normally, the success rate for the long-term unemployed getting back to work is 10 to 15 percent. We’ve shown that given the right tools and services, these folks can become part of the labor force.”
Platform to Employment is about to start replicating the program in 10 cities, specifically for unemployed residents over 50 and military veterans. AARP Foundation and Citi Community Development are partners for the “over 50” offerings; the Walmart Foundation is the force behind veterans assistance. Together, the three groups have committed more than $1.5 million to the effort.
Dallas and Cincinnati programs will open in February, Chicago in March and San Diego in April. Boston, Detroit, Miami, Minneapolis, Denver and San Francisco will follow later in the year.
“Every one of these will become a center of hope,” Carbone says.
He expects other cities will sign up, too. “There are about 25 more regions that are very excited,” he says. “Some are chomping at the bit.”
Earning Less, but Working
Carbone concedes that all the Platform to Employment participants who’ve been hired earn less than they did before they lost their jobs. “Yet they’re all very happy because they’re working,” he says.
Susan Sipprelle, creator of the Over 50 and Out of Work multimedia project and writer/producer of the award-winning unemployment documentary, Set for Life, echoes Carbone.
“Most of the 100 unemployed Americans over 50 we initially interviewed have been able to find jobs over the past year or so,” she says, “but they’re part-time or for much less money than they earned prior to the Great Recession.”
The JobRaising Challenge
The second jobs initiative that excites me is the JobRaising Challenge — and you can play a role.
It’s a new crowd-funding competition from the Skoll Foundation, CrowdRise,The Huffington Post and McKinsey & Company. The Skoll Foundation will award a total of $250,000 to nonprofits who demonstrate “the most promising, scalable employment solutions.”
Here’s how it works: Between now and March 1, members of the public go to the JobRaising Challenge’s website, Jobraising.com, and donate money (from $10 to $10,000 per donor) to any of the 74 competing nonprofits they think would be best at fighting the jobs crisis. The groups raising the most money will win the prize money.
What You Can Do
If you or someone you know is over 50, has been out of work for many months and lives in one of the Platform to Employment cities, I urge you to consider enrolling in its program.
And if you’d like to help create work for America’s unemployed, go to the JobRaising Challenge site and donate to your favorite nonprofit contender.
Richard Eisenberg is the Senior Web Editor of the Money & Security and Work & Purpose channels of Next Avenue. Follow Richard on Twitter @richeis315.Close
Wall Street Journal: Long-Term Jobless Begin to Find Work
By BEN CASSELMAN The epidemic of long-term unemployment, one of the most pernicious and persistent challenges bedeviling the U.S. economy, is finally showing signs of easing. The long-term ... Continue
By BEN CASSELMAN
The epidemic of long-term unemployment, one of the most pernicious and persistent challenges bedeviling the U.S. economy, is finally showing signs of easing.
The long-term unemployed—those out of work more than six months—made up 39.1% of all job seekers in December, according to the Labor Department, the first time that figure has dropped below 40% in more than three years.
The problem is far from solved. Nearly 4.8 million Americans have been out of work for more than six months, down from a peak of more than 6.5 million in 2010 but still a level without precedent since World War II.
The recent signs of progress mark a reversal from earlier in the recovery, when long-term unemployment proved resistant to improvement elsewhere in the labor market.
Total unemployment peaked in late 2009 and has dropped relatively steadily since then, while the number of long-term unemployed continued to rise into 2010 and then fell only slowly through much of 2011.
More recently, however, unemployment has fallen more quickly among the long-term jobless than among the broader population. In the past year, the number of long-term unemployed workers has dropped by 830,000, accounting for nearly the entire 843,000-person drop in overall joblessness.
When Michael Leahy lost his job as a manager at a Connecticut bank in 2010, the state had already shed about 10,000 financial-sector jobs in the previous two years and he had difficulty even landing an interview. By the time banks started hiring again, Mr. Leahy, now 59, had been out of work for more than a year and found himself getting passed over for candidates with jobs or ones who had been laid off more recently.
In July, however, Mr. Leahy was accepted into a program for the long-term unemployed run by the Work Place, a local workforce development agency. The program helped Mr. Leahy improve his resume and interviewing skills, and ultimately connected him with a local bank that was hiring.
Mr. Leahy began a new job in December. The chance to work again in his chosen field, he said, was more than worth the roughly 15% pay cut from his previous job.
"The thing that surprised me is this positive feeling I have every day of getting up in the morning and knowing I have a place to go to and a place where people are waiting for me," Mr. Leahy said.
The decline in long-term unemployment is good news for the broader economy. Many economists, including Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, feared that many long-term unemployed workers would become permanently unemployable, creating a "structural" unemployment problem akin to what Europe suffered in the 1980s. But those fears are beginning to recede along with the ranks of the long-term unemployed.
"I don't think it's the case that the long-term unemployed are no longer employable," said Omair Sharif, an economist for RBS Securities Inc. "In fact, they've been the ones getting the jobs."
Not all the drop in long-term joblessness can be attributed to workers finding positions. In recent years, millions of Americans have given up looking for work, at which point they no longer count as "unemployed" in official statistics.
The recent drop in long-term unemployment, however, doesn't appear to be due to such dropouts. The number of people who aren't in the labor force but say they want a job has risen by only about 400,000 in the past year, while the number of Americans with jobs has risen by 2.4 million. That suggests at least much of the improvement is due to people finding jobs, not dropping out, Mr. Sharif said.
The average unemployed worker has now been looking for 38 weeks, down from a peak of nearly 41 weeks and the lowest level since early 2011.
The long-term unemployed still face grim odds of finding work. About 10% of long-term job seekers found work in April, the most recent month for which a detailed breakdown is available, compared with about a quarter of more recently laid-off workers. The ranks of the short-term jobless are more quickly refreshed by newly laid-off workers, however. As a result, the total number of short-term unemployed has fallen more slowly in recent months, even though individual workers still stand a far better chance of finding work early in their search.
And when the long-term unemployed do find work, their new jobs generally pay less than their old ones—often much less. A recent study from economists at Boston University, Columbia University and the Institute for Employment Research found that every additional year out of work reduces workers' wages when they do find a job by 11%.
Moreover, the recent gains have yet to reach the longest of the long-term unemployed: While the number of people unemployed for between six months and two years has fallen by 12% in the past year, the ranks of those jobless for three years or longer has barely budged at all.
Patricia Soprych, a 51-year-old widow in Skokie, Ill., recently got a job as a grocery-store cashier after more than a year of looking for work. But the job is part-time and pays the minimum wage, which she finds barely enough to make ends meet.
"You say the job market's getting better. Yeah, for these $8.25-an-hour jobs," Ms. Soprych said.
Economists cite several reasons for the drop in long-term unemployment. Most significant is the gradual healing of the broader labor market, which has seen the unemployment rate drop to 7.8% in December from a high of 10% in 2009. After initially benefiting mostly the more recently laid-off, that progress is now being felt among the longer-term jobless as well.
The gradual strengthening in the housing market could lead to more improvement. Many of the long-term unemployed are former construction workers who lost jobs when the housing bubble burst. Rising home building has yet to lead to a surge in construction employment, but many experts expect hiring to pick up in 2013.
Another possible factor behind the recent progress: the gradual reduction in emergency unemployment benefits available to laid-off workers. During the recession, Congress extended unemployment benefits to as long as 99 weeks in some states. Today, benefits last 73 weeks at most, and less time in many states. Research suggests that unemployment payments lead some recipients not to look as hard for jobs, and the loss of benefits may have pushed some job seekers to accept work they might otherwise have rejected, said Gary Burtless, an economist at the Brookings Institution.
A version of this article appeared January 11, 2013, on page A2 in the U.S. edition of The Wall Street Journal, with the headline: Long-Term Unemployed Begin to Find Work.Close
Upcoming Job Fairs by CT Hearst Media
When searching for a new job or looking for skills to brush up on, it can often be difficult to know where to start. Hearst Media Services is sponsoring a 3 Career Fairs: Thursday, January 24 ... Continue
When searching for a new job or looking for skills to brush up on, it can often be difficult to know where to start.
Hearst Media Services is sponsoring a 3 Career Fairs:
Thursday, January 24, 2013
Friday, February 15, 2013
Tuesday, March 19, 2013
NOTE: Employers still needed for all three events, for more info call Shara Toobert at 203-330-6342.Close
AARP and The WorkPlace offer employment training program: Bridgeport area
CT Post - Friday, December 14, 2012 Business Briefs AARP Connecticut and The WorkPlace have initiated a new program that will provide training and assistance to local unemployed workers age 50 and o ... Continue
AARP Connecticut and The WorkPlace have initiated a new program that will provide training and assistance to local unemployed workers age 50 and over in Bridgeport and Stamford seeking to rejoin the workforce. Called "Bridges to Employment", the program is being offered with funding from AARP Connecticut. The program is modeled on WorkPlace's Platform to Employment (P2E) Program. AARP Connecticut helped recruit a class of 20-25 participants age 50 and over from the greater Bridgeport/Stamford region to take part in the 16-week customized program geared toward the specific needs of older workers. For information, visit www.workplace.org
Putting the Long-Term Unemployed Back to Work
November 19, 2012 2:00 PM By Bob Annibale, Global Director of Citi Microfinance and Community Development There are more than five million Americans who have been actively seeking a job for six mo ... Continue
November 19, 2012 2:00 PM
By Bob Annibale, Global Director of Citi Microfinance and Community Development
There are more than five million Americans who have been actively seeking a job for six months or longer. The so-called long-term unemployed represent 40% of all unemployed workers, and face the additional challenges of job-search fatigue and a lengthy period during which they lack previous levels of regular income, or none at all.
Citi Community Development is now working with The WorkPlace on the national expansion of the highly successful Platform to Employment (P2E) program, which creates a pathway to employment for the long-term unemployed. P2E, which began in southwestern Connecticut, will be expanded to address the specific needs of unemployed workers over 50 and military veterans, thanks to additional support from AARP Foundation and the Walmart Foundation. Starting in January, P2E will launch replication sites in 10 U.S. cities, beginning with Chicago, Cincinnati, Dallas and San Diego.
P2E focuses on supporting the needs of those who often worked for decades before becoming unemployed and who now face significant challenges in securing employment while also managing a different household financial situation.
With support from Citi, P2E participants receive financial counseling and credit rebuilding assistance so they are better equipped to face the significant financial challenges many families confront during extended periods of unemployment. P2E clients will not only receive job readiness skills and enter a system to get matched with local career opportunities, but they will also be counseled on refining their household money management skills and tools to begin to rebuild their credit at a time when many are financially overextended.
P2E is a proven model that demonstrates that the right job readiness programming, combined with personal and family support services and financial counseling, can return the long-term unemployed to the workforce. In Connecticut, P2E has placed more than 70% of program participants into work experience programs, with nearly 90% of these individuals moving on to full-time employment. Led by Lily Lopez, Connecticut State Director for Citi Community Development, we are pleased to collaborate with our fellow supporters in building the capacity of The WorkPlace to dramatically scale this essential program nationwide and to support many more Americans in rebuilding their professional and financial identities.
Earlier this year, Citi was nationally recognized for its support of P2E with the American Bankers Association's first-ever Community Commitment Award for Economic Development. Click here to read more about the award.
Successful Connecticut Program Putting the Long-Term Unemployed Back to Work Will Go National
The WorkPlace, AARP Foundation, Citi Community Development and Walmart Foundation will expand the Platform to Employment program to 10 cities across U.S. Bridgeport, CT (November 15, 2012) – T ... Continue
The WorkPlace, AARP Foundation, Citi Community Development and Walmart Foundation will expand the Platform to Employment program to 10 cities across U.S.
Bridgeport, CT (November 15, 2012) – The WorkPlace with the support of AARP Foundation, Citi Community Development and the Walmart Foundation announce the national expansion of the highly successful Platform to Employment (P2E) program, which creates a pathway to employment for the long-term unemployed. Long-term unemployment impacts more than 5 million Americans who have been actively seeking a job for more than six months. This population represents 40% of unemployed workers.
P2E, which began in southwestern Connecticut, will be expanded to address the specific needs of unemployed workers over 50 and military veterans. Starting in January, P2E will launch replication sites in 10 U.S. cities beginning with Chicago, Cincinnati, Dallas and San Diego. The program is a proven model that demonstrates that the right job readiness programming, combined with personal and family support services and financial counseling, can return the long-term unemployed to the workforce. Tested in seven different cohorts, including participants from urban and suburban communities, P2E has placed more than 70% of program participants into work experience programs, with nearly 90% of these individuals moving on to full-time employment.
AARP Foundation will provide a grant to specifically recruit and serve long-term unemployed workers who are over 50 years of age. This population continues to spend longer periods of time looking for work and securing a stable income. AARP Foundation is working to reverse the downward spiral that many older Americans and their families face.
\"Today, Americans 50+ face choices and pressures no one could have prepared for,\" said Jo Ann Jenkins, AARP Foundation President. \"Job loss and long-term unemployment among those 50 and older have wiped out retirements savings and caused any hopes of a secure financial future to fade. AARP Foundation is pleased to support the expansion of Platform to Employment to help put people 50+ back to work in good jobs in their communities and pave the way to a brighter and more secure future.\"
With additional support from the Walmart Foundation, P2E will provide services to veterans returning to the civilian workforce in each city and will include at least two cohorts of female veterans. In addition to career opportunities for veterans and military families, Walmart and its Foundation have committed $20 million through 2015 to support organizations and programs that provide job training, transition and education assistance to veterans.
\"As one of the nation’s largest private employers of veterans and those on active duty, we share The WorkPlace’s vision of a country where every veteran has a chance to succeed economically and support his or her family,\" said
retired U.S. Army Brigadier General Gary Profit, senior director of military programs at Walmart. \"Walmart is committed to making that vision a reality by supporting organizations and programs that provide job and skills training to our veterans. These young men and women stood up for us, and now it’s our turn to stand up for them.\"
Platform to Employment offers a five week preparatory program which includes workshops on resume writing, interview preparation, self-marketing and other skills. Additionally, each participant and their family has access to behavioral health services and counseling. Following the preparatory program, participants are then matched with employers who have job openings. P2E enables employers to have a risk free evaluation of participants during an eight week trial period where wages are subsidized by The WorkPlace.
With support from Citi Community Development, P2E participants also receive financial counseling and credit rebuilding assistance so they are better equipped to face the significant financial challenges many families confront during extended periods of unemployment. P2E clients will not only receive job readiness skills and enter a system to get matched with local career opportunities, but they will also be counseled on refining their household money management skills and tools to begin to rebuild their credit at a time when many are financially overextended and lack previous levels of regular income, or none at all. Earlier this year, Citi was nationally recognized for its support of P2E with the American Bankers Association’s first-ever Community Commitment Award in the Economic Development category.
\"Platform to Employment focuses on supporting the needs of those who often worked for decades before becoming long-term unemployed and who face significant challenges in securing employment while also managing a different household financial situation,\" said Bob Annibale, Citi’s Global Director of Community Development and Microfinance. \"Citi is pleased to be partnering with fellow supporters in building the capacity of The WorkPlace to dramatically scale this essential program nationwide and to support many more America’s in rebuilding their professional and financial identities.\"
\"We know that the power of hope is essential to the creation of great things. Platform to Employment is an example of how a caring community can make a difference on a national stage.\" said Joseph Carbone, President and CEO of The WorkPlace.
# # #
About The WorkPlace
The WorkPlace conducts comprehensive planning, and coordinates regional workforce development policy and programs to prepare people for careers while strengthening the workforce for employers. As national leader in the field, The WorkPlace regularly shares ideas and best practices with lawmakers, foundations, think tanks and other workforce development organizations around the country. For more information, visit www.workplace.org or http://www.platformtoemployment.com
About AARP Foundation
AARP Foundation is working to win back opportunity for struggling Americans 50+ by being a force for change on the most serious issues they face today: housing, hunger, income and isolation. By coordinating responses to these issues on all four fronts at once, and supporting them with vigorous legal advocacy, the Foundation serves the unique needs of those 50+ while working with local organizations nationwide to reach more people, work more efficiently and make resources go further. AARP Foundation is the charitable affiliate of AARP. Learn more at www.aarpfoundation.org.
About Citi Community Development
Citi Community Development (CCD) is leading Citi’s commitment to achieve economic empowerment and growth for underserved individuals, families and communities by expanding access to financial products and services, and building sustainable business solutions and innovative partnerships. Our focus areas include: commercial and philanthropic funding; innovative financial products and services; and collaborations with institutions that expand access to financial products and services for low-income and underserved communities. For more information, visit www.citicommunitydevelopment.com.
About Philanthropy at Walmart
Walmart and the Walmart Foundation are proud to support initiatives that are helping people live better around the globe. In May 2010, Walmart and its Foundation made a historic pledge of $2 billion through 2015 to fight hunger in the U.S. The Walmart Foundation also supports education, workforce development, environmental sustainability, and health and wellness initiatives. To learn more, visit www.walmartfoundation.org.
Supporting Our Heroes: A Veterans Relief and Resource Event - November 14 from 9am to 12pm in Bridgeport
Bridgeport, CT – November 6, 2012 A Veterans Resources fair will be held at 350 Fairfield Avenue, 2nd Floor in Bridgeport on November 14 from 9am – 12pm. The event is co-hosted by t ... Continue
Bridgeport, CT – November 6, 2012
A Veterans Resources fair will be held at 350 Fairfield Avenue, 2nd Floor in Bridgeport on November 14 from 9am – 12pm. The event is co-hosted by the CT Department of Labor, Career Resources, Inc. and The WorkPlace. There is no fee to attend. Free refreshments, raffle prizes and giveaways will be available.
The fair will offer veterans of all ages and branches of service the opportunity to learn about the various benefits they may be eligible to receive, including education and training opportunities; free or low-cost healthcare benefits; survivor and dependent services; legal services, and burial benefits. Participants will learn how to cut costs and save money through energy assistance and conservation, programs. Veterans may receive professional attire for job interviews at no cost.
“We owe a great debt to our military veterans, but too often veterans aren’t taking advantage of the benefits they’ve earned through their service to our country,” said Joseph Carbone, President & CEO, The WorkPlace. “This event is one way to make sure Connecticut vets have greater access to the services available to them.”
The Connecticut Department of Veterans Affairs will have representatives on hand to advise veterans and help them apply for various federal benefits and services available to veterans and their families.
Education specialists will be available to talk about various educational benefits and programs. Veteran Employment Specialists will be on-site to counsel veterans on career opportunities, job search strategies and resume writing.
“I encourage all veterans to take advantage of this opportunity to talk to the experts and get help navigating the list of resources available to you,” said Veasna Roeun, Disabled Veterans Outreach Program Specialist, Connecticut Department of Labor’s Office for Veteran\'s Workforce Development. “It is a solid first step toward building a brighter future for them and their families.”
Please RSVP by registering online at www.ctworksSW.org/vetsfair to receive free flu shots and/or business suit (while supplies last) or call 203-610-8570.
About The WorkPlace
The WorkPlace conducts comprehensive planning, and coordinates regional workforce development policy and programs to prepare people for careers while strengthening the workforce for employers. As national leader in the field, The WorkPlace regularly shares ideas and best practices with lawmakers, foundations, think tanks and other workforce development organizations around the country. For more information, visit www.workplace.org.
Bank of Fairfield donates to The WorkPlace
Local organizations benefitted from a recent Bank of Fairfield checking promotion that enabled new checking customers to designate a donation to a local charity. Shown at the check presentation ... Continue
Local organizations benefitted from a recent Bank of Fairfield checking promotion that enabled new checking customers to designate a donation to a local charity. Shown at the check presentation are (left to right) Donna Twist, Executive Director of the Norma F. Pfriem Breast Care Center, Bank of Fairfield Director of Development Bob Hojnacki, Tina Varick of the Evelyn Kennedy Center, Kevin Simmons, Assistant Executive Director of the Wakeman Girls and Boys Club, Operation Hope Executive Director Carla Miklos, Bank of Fairfield President Bob Palermo and Joe Carbone, President and CEO of The WorkPlace. Close
Citi received the first-ever Community Commitment Award in the Economic Development category for its collaboration with The WorkPlace to address the needs of the long-term unemployed.
Citigroup Inc. : Citi Community Development Receives Inaugural Community Commitment Award from the American Bankers Association 10/17/2012 For Immediate Release New York - Citi Community ... Continue
Citigroup Inc. : Citi Community Development Receives Inaugural Community Commitment Award from the American Bankers Association
10/17/2012 For Immediate Release
New York - Citi Community Development was nationally recognized for its support of the Platform to Employment program during the American Bankers Association's Annual Convention in San Diego. Citi received the first-ever Community Commitment Award in the Economic Development category for its collaboration with The WorkPlace to address the needs of the long-term unemployed.
The WorkPlace, based in Bridgeport, Conn., launched Platform To Employment to address the need for the long-term unemployed to return to work and the employer need to recruit skilled workers.
Citi Community Development worked with The WorkPlace to expand Platform to Employment by providing those experiencing long-term unemployment with financial counseling and credit rebuilding assistance. Platform to Employment clients now receive guidance from the nationally recognized Housing Development Fund that can help improve their household money management skills and begin to rebuild their credit during a time when many lack regular income and are financially overextended.
The ABA selection committee chose five banks from a field of more than 140 nominations based on the creativity and thoughtfulness of programs-traditional or innovative in nature and structure-that embody the ideals of corporate citizenship and demonstrate success in measurable terms.
"We are delighted to recognize Citi for their outstanding effort," said ABA President and CEO Frank Keating. "Platform to Employment has had a tremendous impact on their community."
"Citi is honored to receive this award, which recognizes a program that is enabling unemployed individuals to get back on track by rebuilding their credit and, more importantly, their lives and their pride," said Lily Lopez, Connecticut State Director for Citi Community Development. "We are very pleased to partner with The WorkPlace, which has demonstrated tremendous leadership and impact, to respond in a holistic way to the pressing national issue of long-term employment."
Community Commitment Award entries were divided into five categories, including affordable housing, economic development, small business lending, financial education, and volunteerism and philanthropy.
The Community Commitment Awards is a successor program to the ABA Community Bank Awards, which were established in 2005 to commend community banks' exceptional charitable achievements. The program has evolved to better recognize the entire industry's efforts in communities across the country.
Citi, the leading global bank, has approximately 200 million customer accounts and does business in more than 160 countries and jurisdictions. Citigroup provides consumers, corporations, governments and institutions with a broad range of financial products and services, including consumer banking and credit, corporate and investment banking, securities brokerage, transaction services, and wealth management.
Citi Community Development
Citi Community Development (CCD) is leading Citi's commitment to achieve economic empowerment and growth for underserved individuals, families and communities by expanding access to financial products and services, and building sustainable business solutions and innovative partnerships. Our focus areas include: commercial and philanthropic funding; innovative financial products and services; and collaborations with institutions that expand access to financial products and services for low-income and underserved communities.www.citicommunitydevelopment.com.
Click here to read the article online.Close
Support Dress for Success® Mid-Fairfield County by shopping at Lord & Taylor in Stamford, CT on October 30th
Dress for Success Mid-Fairfield County is participating in Lord & Taylor’s “Shop Smart. Do Good!” event being held on Tuesday, October 30th from 9am-11pm in Stamford. Funds ... Continue
Dress for Success Mid-Fairfield County is participating in Lord & Taylor’s “Shop Smart. Do Good!” event being held on Tuesday, October 30th from 9am-11pm in Stamford. Funds raised by your participation will directly benefit Dress for Success Mid-Fairfield County programs and services.
Purchase a $5 ticket online at www.lordandtaylor.com/dogoodstamford. Select Dress for Success as the chosen organization you would like to support. October 23 is the last day to purchase your tickets in order for them to be mailed in time for the October 30th shopping day. Any questions? Please call (203) 333-6505. Thank you!Close
Radio Interview on The Steve Spierer Show
Listen to Joe Carbone talk about the long term unemployed. Click on the September 8th radio interview – http://www.talkradioone.com/files/SS090812.mp3 ... Continue
Listen to Joe Carbone talk about the long term unemployed. Click on the September 8th radio interview –Close
CNN's Anderson Cooper 360: Interview with Joe Carbone about Unemployment
Group tries to give hope to unemployed Joseph Carbone, CEO of The Workplace, Inc., wants to help people who need employment opportunities. His story is part of AC360's series "What Keeps You Up at Ni ... Continue
Group tries to give hope to unemployed
Joseph Carbone, CEO of The Workplace, Inc., wants to help people who need employment opportunities. His story is part of AC360's series "What Keeps You Up at Night," which focuses on election issues.
Click here to watch the video.Close
CT Post: State Steps Up For Owners of Small Businesses
CT Post, Meg Barone - September 12, 2012 Owners of small businesses were put through their paces early Wednesday morning as Carmen Nieves had them doing calisthenics of sorts to prove that ... Continue
CT Post, Meg Barone - September 12, 2012
Owners of small businesses were put through their paces early Wednesday morning as Carmen Nieves had them doing calisthenics of sorts to prove that their companies are eligible for participation in a state-run hiring incentive program.
At the Greater Valley STEP UP Conference, sponsored by the state Department of Labor and held at the Ansonia Armory, Nieves, program manager with the WorkPlace and the Southwest Regional Coordinator for the Subsidized Training and Employment Program, asked employers of companies with fewer than 100 workers to stand up. Those in business for at least a year were asked to raise their hands, and if their state and local taxes are in good standing Nieves had them step forward.
"You've already stepped up," Nieves said to the 225 attendees representing 175 companies, most from the Naugatuck Valley and all of whom were there to learn more about government assistance to grow their businesses.
The program, which was authorized by the state Jobs Act passed last October, provides $20 million in wage reimbursements and training grants -- up to $12,500 per employee for new hires, to small businesses and manufacturers. A third program specifically for veterans is expected to become active soon after the state bonds an additional $10 million for it.
Nieves said there are 39 communities eligible for STEP UP based on population density and unemployment rates. She said in this region there are seven municipalities that qualify for the wage program: Stamford, Norwalk, Bridgeport, Ansonia, Derby, Seymour and Stratford.
The approval process takes only two to three days, Nieves said, which many business owners were grateful to hear. Some said they have faced bureaucracy and red tape from government programs in the past and they welcome the chance to participate in a streamlined program that will help them expand personally while contributing to the growth of the state's economy.
Vic Kirilichin of EIS Engineered Inserts & Systems, of Watertown and Milford, said he arrived at Wednesday's conference with a bad taste in his mouth from previous experiences with government agencies, but left hopeful.
"It sounds pretty promising. My background has always been manufacturing and it's the heart of what you need to have in a recovery. It's encouraging that there is some assistance to hire people and finance additional equipment," said Kirilichin, who grew up in Ansonia.
Derby Mayor Anthony Staffieri said it's great the state is making small businesses aware of grants, help and possibilities. "You get so caught up running a business that you don't have time to dig for information to help out ... I wish they had things like this when I was in business for myself," he said.
Organizers were encouraged by the turnout.
"This so far exceeded anything that we expected," Nieves said, adding that is demonstrates companies' willingness to hire. "It shows employers want to step up, they're ready to grew, they're ready to make a difference. Businesses in the room today represented economic growth, professional development, opportunity overall, and hope, she said.
"We thought if we got 50 people we were doing well," said former state Rep. Chris Caruso, who serves as a project manager for the state Department of Labor. He organized Wednesday's event and said this was the first in a series of STEP UP conferences that will be held throughout the state.Close
Huffington Post: Long-Term Unemployment: A National Crisis For Older Workers
Americans age 55 and older are struggling to rebound from a dramatic spike in unemployment since December 2007. Seniors have experienced consistently longer periods of unemployment than younger worke ... Continue
Americans age 55 and older are struggling to rebound from a dramatic spike in unemployment since December 2007. Seniors have experienced consistently longer periods of unemployment than younger workers, as employers seek cheaper labor and look to skirt potentially higher health care costs, according to a study by the Government Accountability Office released earlier this year.
The unemployment rate for workers age 55+ more than doubled to 7.6 percent in February 2010 from 3.1 percent in December 2007. As of July, nearly two million older workers –- 6.2 percent -– were seeking a job.
Although the unemployment rate is lower than the national average of 8.3 percent, Americans 55 and older who were unemployed had been seeking work for an average of 51 weeks -– compared to 37.4 weeks for the population as a whole. Older workers make up more than half of the long-term unemployed.
"A worker between ages 50 and 61 who has been unemployed for 17 months has only about a 9 percent chance of finding a new job in the next three months,” wrote economists Dean Baker and Kevin Hassett noted in a New York Times op-ed piece last spring.” A worker who is 62 or older and in the same situation has only about a 6 percent chance. As unemployment increases in duration, these slim chances drop steadily."
Consider Tonja Adams, 62, a sales associate at a local publisher of safety literature in Wisconsin, who was recently profiled by The Wall Street Journal. She lost her job in 2009 and is still looking. She has gone through her savings, taken Social Security benefits and relies on food stamps and help from her elderly parents to make ends meet.
"I'd never been out of work for any length of time in my life. I just networked like crazy and I just assumed that I would get a job within two or three months," Adams told The Journal. "I never would have dreamed that I could not find a job, that I was unemployable."
In a series of focus groups with the GAO, older workers said they experienced age discrimination, and at least one person interviewed said “local employers had asked her to screen out all applicants over the age of 40,” the report said. When older workers do find jobs, they typically suffered larger pay cuts than younger ones. The median earnings replacement rate for workers aged 55 to 64 who lost jobs from 2007 to 2009 was 85 percent, compared with about 95 percent for workers aged 25 to 54, the GAO found.
The plight of older workers is complicated by the fact that they don’t have decades to make up that lost income, and are often shouldering the cost of college for their children or care for their aging parents. In addition, their home equity has plummeted: An AARP analysis found 1.5 million people over 50 had lost their homes to foreclosure between 2007 and 2011 and another 3.5 million owed more than their homes were worth.
Many older workers have run through their retirement savings: One survey of post 50s found 25 percent had used up all of their savings between 2007 and 2010. Meanwhile, Americans’ confidence in their ability to retire has hit a two-decade low, according to a study by the Employee Benefits Research Institute. Moreover, workers like Adams, who take Social Security at age 62, are stuck at a lower benefit for life. According to the GAO report, someone who exited the workforce at that age would receive a median monthly benefit of $909 -– compared to $1,212 for people who wait to take Social Security until age 66.
Non-profits, educators and others have come forward with a variety of solutions to the long-term unemployment crisis:
The Detroit Free Press printed an Op-Ed article written by Joe Carbone about the long term unemployed
August 16, 2012 Redefine long-term unemployment With nearly 30% of our unemployed people out of work for 52 weeks, we owe it to ourselves to address the singular approach to connecting unemployed wo ... Continue
August 16, 2012
Redefine long-term unemployment
With nearly 30% of our unemployed people out of work for 52 weeks, we owe it to ourselves to address the singular approach to connecting unemployed workers with jobs, regardless of their length of unemployment. A key step is redefining "long-term unemployment" and our response to helping the millions of Americans affected by this potentially debilitating challenge.
Long-term employment today is different from any other time. It's not just a six-month issue, nor is it an issue that can be adequately addressed by traditional services. It demands a new definition and new resources.
Tepid economic growth and expiring skills of unemployed workers have caused a major disruption in the market for labor. At one time, the average worker could find gainful employment within six months. Today, businesses are reluctant to assume hiring risk while workers who have been unemployed well beyond 26 weeks are struggling to stay relevant. This shift is why a more accurate definition of long-term unemployment is being jobless for 52 weeks, instead of 26 weeks.
We know long-term unemployment can permanently segregate and alienate millions of people from the workforce and deprive them of any opportunity. The statistics deliver important context: Nationwide, 12.5 million people are out of work and actively seeking a job; 2.4 million people are "marginally attached to the labor force" and are not included in the unemployment calculation; since 2011, the average duration of unemployment is 39 weeks, and is not decreasing; in the past 12 months; 64,470 workers have exhausted their extended unemployment benefits in Michigan.
While the statistics continue to mount, the approaches we have to battle against this tide have not kept pace. Coaching on résumé writing and interviewing skills, and basic skills training remain necessary, but they are woefully insufficient. There are emotional concerns and issues that inhibit a person's ability to successfully traverse through a job search.
After 26 weeks of unemployment, depression occurs, financial difficulties arise, and problems at home can all contribute to the demise of a population. After 52 weeks, the effects are increasingly devastating: Long-term unemployment destroys self-confidence, causes skills to atrophy and diminishes marketability.
A national discussion needs to begin regarding the critical junctures of unemployment and the appropriate tools and supports to facilitate a transition back to the workforce.
We should leverage the U.S. Department of Labor's nationwide system of comprehensive One-Stop Centers. This network of centers provides the infrastructure to create programs that address the social and emotional challenges of long-term unemployment, from instilling confidence and providing connections to emotional supports to stress management.
More important, this approach can build on the training and resources centers provide to ensure the entire skill set of unemployed workers remains relevant and connected. Simply put, we need to face the new reality of long-term unemployment and take action. By failing to adapt, our nation will continue to struggle.
As a society, we are faced with a moral challenge: to proactively pull our neighbors out of isolation and prevent the development of a new class of unemployables or continue to pay into safety net programs that neither address the root problems nor provide complete solutions.
Joseph M. Carbone is president and chief executive officer of The WorkPlace, working with state workforce development centers to launch programs for long-term unemployed workers.
Huffington Post: Platform To Employment Program Making Progress With Long-Term Jobless
Ray Hodge lost his job as an energy company's logistics director in June of 2009. "The company took a new direction and placed emphasis on being a hedge fund," he said. Hodge didn't have much luck ... Continue
Ray Hodge lost his job as an energy company's logistics director in June of 2009.
"The company took a new direction and placed emphasis on being a hedge fund," he said.
Hodge didn't have much luck looking for a new job. "I didn't receive any interviews. People said, 'Nice resume, but you don't fit the criteria as well as some other people we have in mind.' How much of that is true and how much is because I'm a little more senior? A lot of things come into play, but you try not to focus on that because it could lead you into a state of depression."
Now Hodge, who is 64 and lives in Trumbull, Conn., has found work, thanks partly to an innovative Connecticut program targeting "99ers" -- people who have been out of work for 99 weeks or longer and have run out of unemployment insurance. There were nearly 2 million Americans who had been out of work that long in July, according to the Labor Department.
The program is called "Platform to Employment," and it has received a lot of attention since a February "60 Minutes" segment that suggested it could be a national solution to the crisis of long-term unemployment. Its creator, Joe Carbone, has testified before Congress and traveled to other states to share information about P2E, as he sometimes calls it.
It works like this: Carbone's nonprofit company, called The WorkPlace, Inc., raised $500,000 from private investors to put a hundred 99ers through a five-week training course that emphasizes job-getting skills. Then the program places them in work trials with local companies, during which The WorkPlace subsidizes their wages for eight weeks. Then companies can hire them or not.
Policymakers have espoused similar concepts, and earlier this year Congress said states could try out programs in which unemployment insurance dollars subsidize a worker's training at a private company (as of late June, no states had applied). But while labor advocates are wary of using the unemployment system to subsidize wages, they don't mind if a nonprofit company raises money from investors to do it.
According to the most recent data from The WorkPlace, of the first 100 people who enrolled earlier this year, 69 landed internships, and of those, 90 percent have been hired full time. The program is still seeking placements for the rest, except for three people who dropped out and six who turned down more than one job offer or interview. (The Harvard Business School is conducting its own evaluation of the program, Carbone said.)
"The results continue to exceed all expectations," Carbone said in an "investor update" email on Monday. "We have proven that given the proper tools and services, the growing number of long-term unemployed can regain their footing and be hopeful again."
The WorkPlace received an additional $200,000 in funding from AARP, the seniors advocacy group, for another group of workers older than 50. While the unemployment rate for people 55 and older is significantly lower than the national average, older workers who do lose their jobs are likely to be out of work for much longer. The average unemployment spell for older workers was 51.4 weeks in July, compared with 34.9 weeks for those younger than 55.
Since Platform to Employment's AARP class graduated from training in late May, 13 of 20 enrollees have been placed in trial jobs. One of them is Gwen Harris of Stamford, who said her search for work had been fruitless since she lost her job as an IT project manager in April 2010. She said she hadn't had to look for a job since the 1980s, when the process wasn't completely dominated by the Internet.
"You try to do this face-to-face but everybody directs you to their website," she said. "This whole new process of everything online, it was doable, but you never get a response back."
With the help of Platform to Employment, Harris recently started a receptionist job with a local workforce center. Harris said she had attended meetings several days a week in Bridgeport, where she received social media advice, as well as a plethora of tips on other aspects of searching for work and being jobless.
"They had resume critiquing, interviewing skills, financial advice," she said. "If you needed to, you could speak with a psychologist to help you deal with being long-term unemployed. Plus, you had the support of the group as well, which was wonderful."
The program doesn't close a so-called "skills gap" that has kept workers from available jobs -- it reduces hiring risks for companies wary of the long unemployed, and it helps jobless workers recover from the emotional damage wrought by two years or more of joblessness.
"The change is the mind," Carbone told "60 Minutes." "That two years of unemployment erodes your self-confidence, your self-esteem."
Hodge echoed that sentiment.
"It helped us to realize we're not isolated, we're not alone," he said. "It's a marketplace that's denied our existence for X amount of time. Platform to Employment gave us the confidence, the courage, to present ourselves to companies, human resource experts, anyone. We carried ourselves a lot more confidently."
Hodge reflected on what happens inside the mind of the long-term unemployed, and the minds of people who might hire them.
"When you look at someone in my situation, the first thing they're saying is, 'Does he really want to work?' When you've circulated 500-plus resumes, you've exhausted your network two or three times over and nothing has come to fruition, it does become self-defeating," he said.
"As long as you're doing your due diligence -- making that phone call, following up -- then eventually something will come of it," Hodge continued. "In this case what came of it was the hard work I put out before Platform to Employment was reinforced. They gave me some uplifting, which vitalized me."Close
Deseret News: The new minority: Millions of long-term unemployed looking for hope
By Michael De Groote, Deseret News Published: Monday, July 30 2012 9:53 p.m. MDT BRIDGEPORT, Conn. — Joe Carbone can't sleep — and the odd thing is, he deals in hope. Carbone is the Pres ... Continue
By Michael De Groote, Deseret News
Published: Monday, July 30 2012 9:53 p.m. MDT
BRIDGEPORT, Conn. — Joe Carbone can't sleep — and the odd thing is, he deals in hope. Carbone is the President and CEO of The WorkPlace, Inc., a non-profit workforce and economic development organization in Bridgeport, Conn. He developed an experimental program to help the long-term unemployed that was recently featured on "60 Minutes."
And so Carbone set out to do something about it — developing a unique way to put the long-term unemployed at the top of the hiring pool by making the employers an offer they couldn't refuse.
Justine tenZeldam and her husband lost their jobs in the San Fransisco area and went to live with her parents in Sacramento, Calif. Month after month, the lack of employment weighed down on her. "It wreaks havoc with self-esteem and confidence," she said.
She applied for various jobs. "But I got the line that I was over qualified for everything I was applying for," she said. "That can be equally discouraging. 'Just give me a job!' was what I was thinking."
But they didn't.
Her husband went back to school to become an art teacher. Eventually, she gave up. But not forever. For her, the fire came back six months later when people started suggesting she take a minimum wage job.
Carbone at The Workplace said part of the problem the long-term unemployed face is their needs change after six months — both emotionally and in their ability to get employers' interested.
But government helps for the unemployed don't recognize the needs of the long-term unemployed. Carbone said many special populations receive targeted help in employment, such as veterans, the disabled and so forth. "We treat the long-term unemployed no different than if people are out of work for three days," he said. "There are no added benefits or tools if you are out of work for three days or two years. ... That's wrong, and that's shortsighted."
STIGMA AND THE BUYER'S MARKET
How employers treat the long-term unemployed is different as well."You can post a job and have 300 applicants in 15 minutes," Carbone said. And, he said, with that many applicants it is easy to cut down the hiring pool to a more manageable level by excluding those who have been without jobs for a long time — like Frank O'Neill, an accountant in Connecticut who lost his job in 2008.
"The whole perception that people out of work are lazy or want to live off the system is wrong for the vast majority of people who are unemployed," O'Neill said. "I'll take a job over unemployment any day of the week. I just couldn't get one."
Some want ads say "unemployed need not apply." Although some states such as Oregon are banning ads that blatantly say this, there is a stigma that puts the long-term unemployed at the bottom of the hiring pool. "It's an actual form of discrimination that they face," Carbone said.
PLATFORM TO EMPLOYMENT
Carbone' plan was the development of a research project named "Platform to Employment" or "P2E" for short. He wanted to try "some extraordinarily different things" along with education and psychological support that addressed the standard needs of the long-term unemployed.
Career Team, a for-profit training provider, worked on the skills portion of the plan teaching five weeks of classes on how to use tools and services — such as networking. This helped the unemployed get up-to-date on how to search for a job.
The emotional part of the problem was helped by Behavioral Health Group, a for-profit company that provides employee assistance programs such as social services to deal with depression, family problems, substance abuse — anything that inhibits people from being successful in the workforce.
Carbone said the five-week program is intensive and challenging. "But there is no question that it worked," he said. "After five weeks in this program, these people were ready for job search."
But the truly innovative way the program works is in how the long-term unemployed actually get a chance.
THE OFFER THEY COULDN'T REFUSE
Then came that offer the potential employers couldn't ignore. P2E would pay the candidate's salary.
The employers were told P2E didn't just have a good job candidate, but that because they had a staffing entity in house, the potential employer did not have to hire the person outright. Instead, the employer could use the person for eight weeks — like a free intern. Four of those weeks, P2E would pay the entire salary. After four weeks, the employer would have to contribute up to 50 percent of the salary.
"What I'm really asking you to do," Carbone would tell them, "is to be fair, and honest with me. If you get to a point after eight weeks, or at any point, and they've done the job to your satisfaction, that you will hire them. But it is also a contract that you can break after one day. If they don't work out, and you don't want them, fine. No hard feelings."
What makes this different from government assistance programs such as those for the disabled and veterans is the employer is not required to make a hire to get the assistance. And private donors such as AARP, AT&T, several banks and foundations fund the program — so businesses don't have to be afraid of government regulations and control.
"It's an offer to business that they almost can't refuse," Carbone said. "It's totally free of risk."
And it works.
Out of 91 people who went through the program, so far, 66 were able to take the trial jobs. Of those 66, 61 have been hired full-time and one is still in the trial period. O'Neill the accountant was one of the first group of 20 people in the program. "I was skeptical," he said. "Nobody had ever gotten me a job before. I was always able to get my own positions. ... I'm thinking, 'If I can't get myself a job, why do I think these people can?'"
The program gave O'Neill his confidence back. He no longer felt alone.
Carbone hopes the word will continue to spread about the program — and is excited about the publicity "60 Minutes" gave to it. Already he is seeing the potential transformation of his regional effort in Connecticut, with the help of some major foundations, into a national project in ten different metropolitan areas.
But for those people who do not have the program in their area — such as tenZeldam and her husband in California — Carbone said they should not give up hope.
"What we learn from the program is they need to confront their fears," Carbone said. "And they need to get themselves in a mode to be competitive."
This means boosting job hunting skills, filling in the areas where knowledge may have gone stale and addressing emotional issues. "And then go out and get a job," he said. "And don't look in terms of finding a job that is up to the credential level you think you have earned. Do not think in terms of what you made before. Right now, the most important thing you need to get done is get off of unemployment and onto employment. You cannot begin to rebuild your career unless you do it from a position of being employed."
Carbone doesn't mean to take any job, but consider jobs that they may never have considered during their working life — such as a part-time job or a position that is not up to their level. This isn't about earning money as much as it is about being on a platform where they can rebuild their life. "We need to do what we need to do to get to the ultimate destination," he said.
The new job is a way station.
Carbone understands what program participants feel like from his own experience years ago when he was out of work for more than eight months. He knows a person who is long-term unemployed may have some unique experience is relevant to the employer's needs. He also said an advantage to employers is they can bargain with the long-term unemployed because they have been out of work for a long time. If they will only give them a chance.
Justine tenZeldam was lucky. She didn't have the backing of a program like P2E, but was given a chance and found a great job as an account executive and social media manager at Tactical Telesolutions in San Francisco. Getting back into the game made the difference for her.
For Frank O'Neill, Carbone's program was a life saver. The day after the 8-week internship ended, he was offered full time employment at Cain Management, which runs more than 35 Dunkin' Donuts franchises in the Connecticut area.
But still, even with some success, Carbone doesn't sleep well. He sees the challenge of the millions of long-term unemployed as a moral challenge more than anything else. "We see millions of American workers that are drifting into the abyss," he said. "They are the sacrificial lambs. They are who we are giving up as we transition from the pre-recession economy to the post-recession economy. That is un-American. That is unjust. And that needs to be addressed."
And Carbone won't rest until it is.Close
The Hour: Duff, Jepsen and other officials discuss mortgage assistance options
By CHRIS BOSAKHour Staff Writer | Posted: Tuesday, July 24, 2012 4:30 pm NORWALK --Financial assistance and other programs are available to homeowners in danger of defaulting on their mortgage, accor ... Continue
By CHRIS BOSAK
NORWALK --Financial assistance and other programs are available to homeowners in danger of defaulting on their mortgage, according to state and local officials who convened in front of Norwalk Courthouse on Tuesday afternoon.
"In a bipartisan way we continue to make important changes," State Sen. Bob Duff, D-25, said. "We helped hundreds of people stay in their homes."
The $25 billion settlement with five mortgage lenders announced in February included $21 million to fund the Emergency Mortgage Assistance Program (EMAP), according to a statement released by Duff's office. Additional funding assists programs such as the Foreclosure Prevention Hotline, the Foreclosure Mediation Program and the Mortgage Crisis Job Training Program.
"The decline in property values have affected everyone, but more than anyone else it affects distressed home owners," he said. "Be proactive (about getting help.) Don't sit there and wait. While we can't stop every foreclosure, we are seeing real progress."
Norwalk Mayor Richard Moccia urged distressed homeowners to look to the state first instead of giving money to a company that may be preying upon people desperate to avoid foreclosure.
"You don't have to pay someone for advice on mortgage. It's a free service offered by the government," Moccia said. "The government can do it better than someone just trying to make a buck."
The programs work well, Duff said. As of May 31, 2012, the state Foreclosure Mediation Program has accounted for 67 percent of homeowners remaining in their homes, with 55 percent getting a loan modification.
The EMAP program provides temporary monthly mortgage payment assistance for eligible Connecticut homeowners who are facing financial hardship. New legislation passed in June makes it easier to qualify for the loans. Repayment starts when the individual's financial situation improves. EMAP is administered by the Connecticut Housing Finance Authority (CHFA).
"We hear every day --literally every day --of people losing their jobs or suffering a medical condition and just not able to make mortgage payments," Dara Kovel, chief housing officer at CHFA, said. "It (EMAP) is really a phenomenal program. People get to stay in their homes and avoid disruption. I can't say enough about the support we got from the legislators and others."
The EMAP program has helped nine families in Norwalk since 2008, Duff said.
The Mortgage Crisis Job Training Program, created in 2008 and administered by The WorkPlace, helps people increase their jobs skills in order to earn more money to become financially stable. It offers employment services, training, scholarships, credit counseling and job placement assistance.
"The (program) helps create better options for people by bringing together the right resources to address their individual situations and potential," Joseph Carbone, president and CEO of The WorkPlace, said. "We are honored to work with a strong network of partners on this project."
State Rep. Bruce Morris, D-140, called the programs and assistance "meaningful changes that will take us to the next level."
State Rep. Chris Perone, D-137, added: "When a person can hang on to their home they can keep their kids in school, build up equity and remain part of the community. This was a critical piece of legislation for our economy."
Jeff Gentes, managing attorney for foreclosure prevention with the Connecticut Fair Housing Center, urged local residents struggling to make their mortgage payments to attend a foreclosure prevention meeting that will be held at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 15, at Norwalk City Hall. For more information about the monthly meetings, visit www.ctfairhousing.org
For more information about the Mortgage Crisis Job Training Program, call (203) 610-8500. To learn more about the Emergency Mortgage Assistance Program, call (877) 571-2432.Close
Connecticut Magazine / Final Say: Joe Carbone
Connecticut Magazine / July 2012 / Final Say: Joe Carbone Article features features Platform to Employment, a bold, new retraining program for that has been heralded nationally for its success. Wha ... Continue
Article features features Platform to Employment, a bold, new retraining program for that has been heralded nationally for its success.
What’s the worst job you’ve ever had?
You mentioned that you were unemployed, what was that situation like?
How did you get to a job helping others get jobs?
It seems as though much of the battle for the long-term unemployed (the 99ers) is against their own damaged psyches—how do you help them regain their confidence?
One of the things you mentioned in your “60 Minutes” piece was your outrage over the lack of interest in the long-term unemployed. Why do you think there isn’t as much outrage as there should be?
I feel as an American like American are not living up to the most basic fundamental values of this nation. When we think of America, we think of freedom, we think of justice, we think of opportunity, and frankly, the way this unemployment issue is moving, there will be millions who, in essence, will be separated from the work force, will become a class of unemployable folks, not because they did anything wrong, not because they lack credentials, not because they’re lazy, but the length of their unemployment will become an impenetrable barrier to their ever making it back into the work force. In some respects, our economy has to transition from the pre-Recession to the post-Recession world, and what is most chilling or troubling to me—it’s almost something I find difficult to live with—is that the thought in the process of doing so, we are sacrificing millions of people to the structural change of the economy. We’re, in essence, really kind of giving them up—that we’ve got to shed from the economy X number of millions of people in order to keep the economy “competitive” and “lean” and “strong,” and these are the folks who are victims.
There’s something about that scenario—and I’m a free-market guy, so don’t misunderstand what I’m saying—but there’s a sense on my part that we have a responsibility as Americans to never strip other Americans from opportunity, just like you wouldn’t do it from the standpoint of justice or freedom. The American work force system has to be the agent to ensure that in spite of whatever obstacles you have that there’s always services and tools to help people to keep their skills fresh, to take advantage of things that will make you a competitive candidate for employment, and participate in the system that will keep you optimistic about the future. We are failing to do that. So I’m appalled, yeah, but I’m shattered. We owe these folks something better, more than that, and the fact that there are many people who are willing to chalk it up to structural economic change and “You know, it’s too bad it happened, but it happened,” that just adds to my difficulties.
The Work Place’s motto is “Think It Forward”—how does the employment mindset need to change to evolving business environment?
We have been complicit, if that’s the case, in stripping them of any sense of opportunity. I don’t believe for a moment that 80 percent of them are going to get jobs, I certainly understand the depth of the structural economic change, my concern is that we’re complicit in it if we accept as an irreversible force of which there is not a remedy to ensure that our citizenry have an opportunity. Then we are complicit in this. We can do better. We cannot make 80 percent of them get jobs, but we can do better to keep them hopeful. So the question is “Do we need to deny them any sense of hope in order to ensure that they don’t return to the work force?” That is unacceptable. That’s un-American as far as I’m concerned.
The second thing is that even companies that are experiencing growth, either in their market share or their goods and services, hiring someone has become a last resort, not a first. You always try to find ways to satisfy your needs short of making a hire because there’s a lot of imponderables about the cost of hiring. In some cases, through technology, there are other ways to grow productivity and you don’t need to hire people. That’s the new business world. That’s why, when one has been long-term unemployed and you have these issues of confidence and the emotional concerns come into the scenario, it makes it difficult for them to successfully compete in any process because the market is so strong with candidates who have perhaps not been out so long or which are not even unemployed or may see this as a way for a better job or a better opportunity, that they are completely frozen out. Now that’s the reality.
Now, it’s up to us to adapt to that. We’re not going to change that. Like I said, I’m a free enterprise guy—that’s how life works. Platform to Employment, the program that we created here (and was featured on “60 Minutes”), it contains all the component parts of what I think the American work force system should be addressing. This constituency of long-term unemployed is going to hit maybe 6 to 7 million by the end of this year—that makes it the largest single special population in the American work force. We—the nation, the U.S. Department of Labor, in particular—have not given adequate planning or thinking to the question of what are these specific tools and services that they need so that they can traverse our system and they can emerge where we’ve given them ways and means so that they can overcome some of their barriers and they can actually compete for work.
Now, we do this for other special populations—we do this veterans, and we should; we do it for people with disabilities, and we should; we do it with dislocated workers, and we should; we don’t do it for this group. We treat people who are unemployed basically the same way if you are unemployed three days or three years. I think the lessons of P2E are such that, on a national level, if we want to feel like we are doing our duty as Americans to help to preserve opportunity and hope for these unfortunate victims of this recession that has been a scourge on the American work force, then we have to address the challenges they have. That, too, is adapting. The way that we’re adapting to the changes that business is going through, we need to adapt to a new constituency who has different needs than we’ve ever been accustomed to.
So I think P2E is a structure and a form that is really the future of the American work force system and the success of it, that we have 71 percent employment, shows that it works. It makes a difference for people who are in this category and it gives them hope. Now on a national level, maybe 71 percent is not something that can be replicated, but even if you did 35 percent, or 40 percent, it’s a lot better than the number you have now, which is somewhere in the teens.
What are the challenges of getting local businesses to stay involved with P2E over the long-term?
Now my responsibility here is to only reach out to companies that I think are honorable corporate citizens, not entities that are going to use it for free labor, but people whom I can believe are trustworthy and that they will give my candidate a fair chance, and they have done that. So, it’s a case in they’re getting a service, too, because a lot of companies pay for this service—they pay headhunters, and they have to pay them a lot of money if they find a good candidate. I’m doing that, and I’m even offering continued assistance with training, if need be, after the person’s been hired, and it doesn’t cost them anything, and they have no risk. I think I have something that I can bring to the table as well. Even if you hire a headhunter, a headhunter brings you a candidate, you hire that candidate, so for some period of time, you’ve got responsibility for that candidate. I don’t even ask you to hire the candidate until that person has had an eight-week trial. That’s not so bad.
If you had unlimited funding to create a program to help unemployed young people get jobs, what would that look like?
Do you think a college education has become a bit of an empty promise, and that maybe it’s time for a vocational-technical school renaissance?
Well, do you think some of them may be better going to a vo-tech school rather than get a liberal arts college degree?
Is there any job you wouldn’t ever want to do?
Would you say any job is a good job?
Do you think Platform to Employment’s model is sustainable in the long-term?
I think in terms of order to do it, it’s the right thing to do, but the second part of it is that there would be a cost but let’s understand that when people drift to the safety net, there’s a cost on that side, too. I said before either we can work hard to having access to a system that offers some probability that at some point they will be employed, and thus, they are an employment issue, or we simply not just allow them to drift, but push them into the abyss until finally they are wards of the safety net? Any by the way, who pays for that safety net? We pay. So we’re going to pay one way or another. Not only does it behoove us because if they work, they pay taxes to do, but it’s that moral question about preserving that right to opportunity that’s satisfied. If they never get a job, even if they never successfully compete for work, we have kept opportunity and hope alive for them, and I cannot imagine a world where that’s not always a priority, and I can’t imagine an America where we would think of any American who’d we willingly, knowingly move away from a point of opportunity and hope.
What do you see as the growing fields in the next few years?
The Workplace was awarded two program grants by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) to help Veterans.
CT Post (7/3/2012) Some extra help where it's needed If any group of our society is entitled to extra help, it is American veterans. They put themselves at ultimate risk, and we are obliged to go ... Continue
CT Post (7/3/2012)
Some extra help where it's needed
If any group of our society is entitled to extra help, it is American veterans.
They put themselves at ultimate risk, and we are obliged to go the extra mile for them as they reacclimate in troubled economic times.
Connecticut's U.S. senators, independent Joe Lieberman and Democratic freshman Richard Blumenthal, have been in the forefront of that effort.
Monday, along with U.S. Reps. Jim Himes, D-4, and Rosa DeLauro, D-3, they announced two grants of nearly $450,000 for the WorkPlace Inc., a job development program based in Bridgeport, that are intended to help homeless vets and those who have been incarcerated.
The grants are from the U.S. Department of Labor. An award of $299,670 is for the Homeless Veterans Reintegration Program and a second, of $150,000, is for the Incarcerated Veterans' Transition Program. The first pool of money will help pay for occupational, classroom and on-the-job training, and the second will provide housing services for formerly jailed veterans who would be at risk for homelessness.
The WorkPlace, and its president and CEO, Joe Carbone, were featured several weeks ago on "60 Minutes" for the innovative work the agency has done with the unemployed.
So it's also good to know that this taxpayer-funded federal grant money is going to an agency that will wring maximum benefit out of every dollar on behalf of the people the money's designed to help.Close
Attend a Free Green Construction Info Session on July 19
The WorkPlace’s Green Jobs Funnel programs are looking for participants interested in careers in green construction. Receive the training you need at no cost to you. Eligibility requ ... Continue
The WorkPlace’s Green Jobs Funnel programs are looking for participants interested in careers in green construction. Receive the training you need at no cost to you. Eligibility requirements will apply.
Info session is at 350 Fairfield Ave in Bridgeport on July 19 from 10:00am – 12:00pm.
Seating is limited and the info session is by appointment only. To RSVP, please call Paula Breeden at (203) 610-8546.Close
2012 Awards Ceremony - June 19, 2012
Celebrating the Achievements of Individuals and Companies from Southwestern Connecticut - Additional Education, Training, and Employment Services Change Lives and Provide Better Opportunities The Wor ... Continue
Celebrating the Achievements of Individuals and Companies from Southwestern Connecticut - Additional Education, Training, and Employment Services Change Lives and Provide Better Opportunities
The WorkPlace Awards are a celebration of individual educational achievements in career education, and the companies that contribute to workforce development in Southwestern Connecticut. Individuals were nominated by The WorkPlace’s approved training providers for demonstrating excellence in job skill programs.
This year’s ceremony recognized almost 120 individuals and organizations from the towns in Southwestern Connecticut. The President's Award was given to Leon Bailey, the Board Chair of The WorkPlace for his many years of service.
The awards were presented in nine categories:
The WorkPlace also celebrated the graduation ceremonies for YouthBuild Bridgeport and the Bridgeport Environmental Training Program.Close
The WorkPlace Wins A GOLD Level CQIA Innovation Award For Platform to Employment
Click here for the article in The Hour - June 16, 2012 Bridgeport, CT – June 11 2012 The WorkPlace received a GOLD Level CQIA Innovation Award for its groundbreaking program, Platf ... Continue
Click here for the article in The Hour - June 16, 2012
Bridgeport, CT – June 11 2012
The WorkPlace received a GOLD Level CQIA Innovation Award for its groundbreaking program, Platform to Employment (P2E) which puts the long-term unemployed back to work.
The impacts of Great Recession have shed millions of people from employment. Many of these individuals are close to eroding their savings and remain at a significant disadvantage when competing for jobs. A systematic approach to overcoming the unique challenges that accompany long-term unemployment was needed.
To address this problem, The WorkPlace raised nearly $600,000 in contributions from private investors to move forward Platform to Employment (P2E). P2E is a program that is unique in workforce development and defies all traditional tools and remedies. It incorporates a proven curriculum of self-assessment, change management, effective communication and successful job search strategies. After 5 weeks of classroom training participants begin an 8 week work experience program and remain on the payroll of The WorkPlace. Private funding enabled The WorkPlace to hold businesses free of risk when evaluating new job applicants and leveled the playing field to give everyone a fair chance to demonstrate they can do the job.
The Connecticut Quality Improvement Award Partnership recognized this innovative program when they selected Platform to Employment for a GOLD Level Innovation Award. The CQIA Partnership Inc. was founded in 1987 utilizing the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award for Performance Excellence criteria in an effort to advance innovative programs that improve quality performance and marketplace competitiveness.
"I am delighted to have our Platform to Employment Program chosen by CQIA to receive this prestigious award." said Joseph M. Carbone, President and CEO of The WorkPlace. "CQIA has been recognizing the best innovations for the past 25 years and it's an honor to receive this award on their 25th Anniversary."
The Workplace has received calls for assistance from communities across the country. It is actively working with community colleges, economic development agencies, workforce operators, employers and non-profits that seek to replicate the success of P2E.
For more information on P2E, visit our website at www.platformtoemployment.com.Close
Radio Interview on The Steve Spierer Show
Listen to Joe Carbone talk about the long term unemployed. Click on the June 2nd radio interview - http://www.talkradioone.com/index.php/category/shows/steven-spierer-show/ ... Continue
Listen to Joe Carbone talk about the long term unemployed. Click on the June 2nd radio interview - http://www.talkradioone.com/index.php/category/shows/steven-spierer-show/
What will it take for our nation to act? - CT Post, June 9, 2012
To view the article online at the CT Post Website, click here. CT Post - Saturday, June 9, 2012 The May jobs report indicates that unemployment remains steadily above 8 percent, where it has been si ... Continue
To view the article online at the CT Post Website, click here.
CT Post - Saturday, June 9, 2012
The May jobs report indicates that unemployment remains steadily above 8 percent, where it has been since early 2009. Additionally the report noted that 2.4 million Americans remain marginally connected to the labor force and discouraged. As a nation we have 5.4 million long-term unemployed who have been jobless for more than 6 months. Yet this year, federally funded unemployment benefits are being phased out across the country.
These cuts are taking place even though long-term unemployment remains near record high levels. The Extended Benefits program was put in place to bridge the gap to an improved economy and prospects for employment. We have cut a lifeline and cast aside an entire population of people Washington apparently deems unemployable. Do the powers that be believe society is better served if these people simply disappeared from the work force?
During normal economic times, states typically provide 26 weeks of unemployment benefits for workers laid off through no fault of their own. During the eight previous recessions, federally funded unemployment benefits have continued until the economy recovered with sustained growth. This is the first time that extended benefits have been allowed to expire when the national unemployment rate is above7.2 percent.
The cuts to the Extended Benefits program are coming faster than the economy is improving, leaving more workers to survive without any assistance. We are eliminating the sustenance for jobless workers without compelling arguments that new employment is attainable. Earlier this year, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke stated that record levels of long-term unemployment will alter the U.S. job market for the worse for the foreseeable future.
If the economy continues to recover at its current anemic pace and all federal unemployment benefits are eliminated, we will have approximately 7.5 million unemployed workers without benefits in 2013. The effects of losing this income will be a crippling blow to individuals and the economy.
Prior to the recession, there were 1.5 job applicants for every open position, today there are 3.4. In a labor market where job-seekers greatly outnumber job openings, we cannot be astonished that long-term unemployment continues to have a debilitating impact on our work force. The void of employment opportunities presents a persistent, coercive strain that degrades access to the labor market.
Now that these cuts are rolling out across the country, eroding the standard of living of for millions of Americans, we must pursue aggressive strategies to prevent the creation of a new dependent class of our population. Otherwise these citizens will be severed from mainstream society, abandoned and isolated from the formal economy and left to grasp onto any precarious labor they can attain.
Two years ago, The WorkPlace realized that we need to move beyond traditional remedies and put in place unique services for dealing with the emotional, psychological and financial scars that arise from long-term unemployment. Platform to Employment arose as an option to address the unique needs of the long-term unemployed to help them return to work and the employer need to identify skilled workers. We are sharing our successful model with communities throughout the U.S. so they may replicate what has been done in Connecticut.
Local community organizations like ours are searching for answers. When will Washington, the president, Congress and the U.S. Department of Labor act? What will it take to initiate a response for millions of Americans seeking refuge? How much damage must be afflicted upon the long-term unemployed before we realize they are victims of a national tragedy?
Joseph M. Carbone is president and chief executive officer of The WorkPlace, in Bridgeport, an agency that conducts comprehensive planning; coordinates regional workforce development policy and programs to prepare people for careers; and aids in strengthening the work force for employers. Go to www.workplace.org.Close
AARP Foundation: The New Age Discrimination? New hiring practices could marginalize longtime unemployed older Americans
To view the AARP video, click here Although the U.S. labor force employs many graying workers, a disturbing trend shows that people over 50 are remaining unemployed longer than their younger counterp ... Continue
To view the AARP video, click here
Although the U.S. labor force employs many graying workers, a disturbing trend shows that people over 50 are remaining unemployed longer than their younger counterparts.
A new trend in hiring practices presents an even greater obstacle for those unemployed after 50; many companies advertise that they hire only those who are currently employed elsewhere, or who have been unemployed for fewer than six months.
Is this a new form of age discrimination, discouraging older Americans — and other minority groups — from applying?
On this episode of Inside E Street, we hear from two lawyers who testified in front of the EEOC on opposite sides of the issue: James Urban, a partner at the Jones Day Law Firm, and Scott Oswald, president of the Metropolitan Washington Employment Lawyers Association. Lark McCarthy also speaks with Sandy Gross, a longtime recruiter and founder of Pinetum Partners LLC. The WorkPlace\'s Platform to Employment Program is also highlighted in this episode.Close
AARP Foundation: Seniors have harder time finding work; The WorkPlace offers an innovative solution
Older Workers: Helping Them Get Jobs by: Jo Ann Jenkins, AARP Foundation President June 8, 2012 A casual reader of the news in late May might easily conclude that th ... Continue
Older Workers: Helping Them Get Jobs
by: Jo Ann Jenkins, AARP Foundation President June 8, 2012
A casual reader of the news in late May might easily conclude that the concern about unemployed older workers has lifted: Two studies from widely respected institutions both reported that labor participation rates rose among people 65 and older.
Both statements are absolutely correct - the numbers were crunched by the Urban Institute for 2008-2011 and the Government Accountability Office for 2007-2011. However, when you dig deeper, you discover that there are more older workers now because they need the money after the values of their homes and retirement savings plummeted. It also takes them much longer to find a job which often pays much less than their previous position.
The data confirm what AARP and AARP Foundation have been saying since the economy tanked in 2008. Older workers who lost their jobs spent a lot more time looking for work than any other age group. Nearly half of the unemployed ages 25-34 found a new job within six months, and those 35-49 within seven months. But it took more than nine months for those 50-61 to find work.
There are other ominous findings, too. In a comparison of men who had been on the job the same length of time, those in their 50s were more likely to lose their job than those in their late 20s and early 30s. And when workers ages 50-61 did find a job, their median hourly earnings were 21 percent lower than in their previous job.
People 62 and older who lost their jobs fared the worst. Just a third found a job within a year of becoming unemployed, and only 41 percent found a job after 18 months. One reason these numbers are so bad is that when people out of work turned 62, about half of them gave up their job search and opted for early Social Security benefits instead. That might sound like a lifeline, but if you get Social Security when you're 62, you get 25 percent less than you would if you waited until you reach the full retirement age of 66. Over the average American's increasingly long lifetime, that lost 25 percent can make a real difference in quality of life - especially for the 23 percent of the population for whom Social Security is their only income.
It's a double whammy, said Philip Levine of the National Employment Law Project. Older unemployed workers have a bigger employment gap and a résumé that gives away their age. And, if you're not working, it's not very likely that you're still going to be able to sock money away for your retirement. In fact, you're lucky if you don't dip into those retirement savings to help you meet your day-to-day expenses.
We can't change what happened, and we won't stop age discrimination overnight either. But given the devastating effects of unemployment both emotionally and financially, we should be doing a better job in helping older people find work again. To that end, AARP Foundation is supporting an innovative program at The WorkPlace, a nonprofit in Connecticut that helps long-term unemployed workers get back to work by subsidizing their earnings for their first eight weeks on a new job.
The WorkPlace, which received a $200,000 recession relief grant last December, instituted a program in 2011 called Platform to Employment for the 99ers, workers whose unemployment has run out (usually after 99 weeks). The Foundation's funds are earmarked for people 50-plus in the Platform to Employment program. The opportunity will allow them to show hiring companies firsthand the considerable skills they've gained after years of employment.
The Platform to Employment program is comprehensive. Being out of a job for at least 99 weeks doesn't do much to inspire self-confidence, so after receiving a career evaluation and skills test, the older workers go through a five-week training program, where they learn interview skills, how to condense their employment history into a two-page résumé and - most important - how much they have to offer an employer. After this, The Workplace will steer them to job openings in organizations that have agreed to take part in the eight-week program. It gives employers a risk-free way to try out a new employee, but it's up to the participant to land the job. Since the program began, 59 people have done so.
Although it's a fairly new program, both 60 Minutes and CNN Money have already aired features about the Platform to Employment program and the unemployed people it helps. What's more, in this age of diminishing government funding, the program is funded entirely by donations from companies, nonprofits and individuals. Our hope is that Platform to Employment will not only thrive in Connecticut and help hundreds of older people get back to work, but that organizations in other states will replicate Platform to Employment to help older 99ers demonstrate their value and get back on the payroll.Close
Were you selected to be interviewed for the Summer Youth Earn & Learn Program?
Click here for required documentation to bring with you. Required Documentation for the 2012 Earn & Learn Summer Youth Employment Program Please note: Copies of the following documents must be s ... Continue
Click here for required documentation to bring with you.
Required Documentation for the 2012 Earn & Learn Summer Youth Employment Program
Please note: Copies of the following documents must be submitted on the date of your eligibility appointment. If you do not have all of the required documents at the time of your eligibility appointment you will not be rescheduled, but placed on a waiting list. In this case if there are available opportunities after all job interviews have been completed YouthWorks will begin calling names on the waiting list according to order received.
Please provide copies of the following documents: Social Security Card
Proof of Citizenship (please bring one of the following)
Proof of Foster Care Status (please bring one of the following)
Student ID and/or Report Card
Free/Reduced Lunch Verification (if applicable – please bring one of the following)
Proof of Income (please bring one of the following)
Resume and Reference LetterClose
Fox Business Network Interview - May 21, 2012
Non-Profit Agency Helps Subsidize Hiring of Unemployed Fox Business Network interviews The WorkPlace's President & CEO, Joe Carbone on how the company helps unemployed people get jobs by subsidi ... Continue
Non-Profit Agency Helps Subsidize Hiring of Unemployed
Fox Business Network interviews The WorkPlace's President & CEO, Joe Carbone on how the company helps unemployed people get jobs by subsidizing their wages for the first 8 weeks.Close
CNNMoney - Paying companies to hire the unemployed
To view the video, click here. By Tami Luhby @CNNMoney, May 18, 2012 NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- Would you donate $6,000 to subsidize someone else's job? The WorkPlace, a Connecticut non-profit agency, ... Continue
To view the video, click here.
By Tami Luhby @CNNMoney, May 18, 2012
NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- Would you donate $6,000 to subsidize someone else's job?
The WorkPlace, a Connecticut non-profit agency, believes the best way to get the long-term unemployed back into the workforce is by paying companies to hire them.
But instead of turning to the government for the money, the agency is trying something different: asking private companies and citizens to support subsidized jobs.
"In order to get long-term unemployed people a chance to demonstrate they can do the job as well as anybody else, you have to use unusual tools and that's one of them," said Joseph Carbone, the agency's chief executive.
More than three dozen companies, non-profits, foundations and individuals have donated more than $580,000 to fund The WorkPlace's initiative, called Platform to Employment. The AARP Foundation kicked in another $200,000 to assist the jobless over age 50.
The program is one of the latest efforts aimed at tackling the thorny problem of long-term unemployment. Millions of people have been jobless for months or years in the wake of the Great Recession, and it's much tougher for them to work their way back into the labor force, particularly if they are older.
Some labor advocates say that subsidized jobs are a good way to smooth the transition for these longtime jobless Americans to return to the payroll. There's little risk for the company, and the workers get to demonstrate their value and pick up skills.
The WorkPlace's program focuses on those who have run out of benefits. Some 91 people went through it last fall and another 20 just finished the initial training.
Career advice from Fortune 500's women CEOs
The initiative is divided into two phases.
After going through a career evaluation, skills testing and mental health counseling, participants enter a five-week training program. There, they learn to craft their résumés, hunt for jobs and burnish their interview skills.
The second phase consists of an eight-week fully subsidized internship, which makes Platform to Employment different than most other job training programs. The WorkPlace doesn't put people in positions, though it collaborates with them to identify ones that might be suitable. It's up to the participants to seal the deal.
The WorkPlace hopes the subsidy gives its participants the edge. It markets itself as an unpaid headhunter, directing employers with open positions to people who meet the requirements.
"Our approach is to say to a business...we're going to find a candidate that matches that person's skills with your needs and then we'll offer a wage subsidy for a period of eight weeks," said Carbone, who is now looking to replicate the program nationwide. "That's like one of those offers that's hard to refuse."
The so-called internships are designed to turn into jobs, though not everyone from the first group of 91 has been placed and four were not hired.
So far, 59 people have landed full-time employment and another four are still in their tryouts. The positions range from supervising a warehouse to working in marketing for a large health care provider. The average salary is $36,000.
Minh Nguyen was out of work for two years before getting placed through the Platform to Employment program. The single mother of two is now employed as an office assistant at Action for Bridgeport Community Development, a non-profit agency.
"When I was doing my eight-week internship with them, they discovered that I'm not so bad," said Nguyen, who is making 35% less than her previous employment. "I'm employable and I have skills. Without that little boost from the agency, they probably wouldn't get to know me."
4 degrees with 0% unemployment
The WorkPlace is now gearing up to place its latest class, which finished training on Wednesday. This group, which had its training paid for by AARP, are all older than 50.
Subsidized employment allows older workers to dispel the myths many employers have about those over age 50, said Emily Allen, a vice president at AARP. Older workers have the highest long-term unemployment rates of any age group.
"This allows older workers...to show first-hand what skills they bring to the table after a lifetime of employment," she said.
Subsidized employment isn't a sure-fire solution, however. It remains unclear whether the payment really makes a difference or just serves as a windfall for companies that would have made the hire anyway, said Harry Holzer, professor at the Georgetown Public Policy Institute.
Also, many of the jobs available through subsidized employment may be lower paid or lower status, he said.
"When the subsidy ends, will the employer keep them on and will they be interested in sticking around?" Holzer said.
Green Training for Veterans - Class begins May 29 - Call Today!
Are you a Veteran? And looking for a job in the green construction industry? Receive training leading to employment at no cost to you! CALL TODAY to enroll for the Construction Professional Cer ... Continue
Are you a Veteran? And looking for a job in the green construction industry? Receive training leading to employment at no cost to you!
CALL TODAY to enroll for the Construction Professional Certificate Class
4-week course begins on May 29
Eligibility and Documents Required:
For more information, please contact:
Carlo R. Leone, Veterans’ Workforce Investment Program Manager, (203) 610-8518, email@example.com
Joe Carbone spoke to the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging
On Tuesday May 15, 2012, the Senate Special Committee on Aging held a hearing entitled, "Missed by the Recovery: Solving the Long-term Unemployment Crisis for Older Workers." The hearing included tes ... Continue
On Tuesday May 15, 2012, the Senate Special Committee on Aging held a hearing entitled, "Missed by the Recovery: Solving the Long-term Unemployment Crisis for Older Workers."
The hearing included testimony from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) on the findings of a new report that looks at how the employment status of older workers has changed since the recession; older workers' financial risks from long-term unemployment and challenges in finding new jobs; and, at what additional policies might help older workers regain employment and what steps the Department of Labor has taken to help unemployed older workers.
We are proud that Joe Carbone was able to speak to the Senate about Platform to Employment (P2E), a Connecticut program that has had great success in assisting older workers facing long-term unemployment find new jobs, and experts who will discuss the challenges older workers face.
For the Statement for Senate Special Committee on Aging by Joseph Carbone, click here. Senator Herb Kohl, D-Wisconsin, Chairman of the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging speaks about P2E at the beginning of the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging. For the entire video, click here.Close
Radio Interview - WPKN - Community Discussions Joe Carbone (May 12, 2012)
On May 12, 2012, Joe Carbone, President and CEO of WorkPlace joined Tom Sweeney and Bill McLean on Community Discussions. Click here for the radio interview on WPKN. ... Continue
On May 12, 2012, Joe Carbone, President and CEO of WorkPlace joined Tom Sweeney and Bill McLean on Community Discussions. Click here for the radio interview on WPKN.
Senator Lieberman Honors Joe Carbone During Visit to The WorkPlace, Inc. - May 11
HARTFORD, CT- Senator Joe Lieberman and Bridgeport Mayor Bill Finch visited The WorkPlace, Inc. on Friday, May 11. The Senator and Mayor Finch received an update on The WorkPlace’s success ... Continue
HARTFORD, CT- Senator Joe Lieberman and Bridgeport Mayor Bill Finch visited The WorkPlace, Inc. on Friday, May 11. The Senator and Mayor Finch received an update on The WorkPlace’s successful Platform to Employment program and met several program participants. Afterwards, Senator Lieberman honored CEO, Joe Carbone as a “Joe’s Hero” for his many years of outstanding leadership and tireless dedication to providing life-changing assistance to thousands in Connecticut’s workforce.
Senator Lieberman has honored the accomplishments of outstanding Connecticut residents, schools, and organizations throughout his Senate career by recognizing them as “Joe’s Heroes.” Joe Carbone, who has served as the President and CEO of The WorkPlace since 1996, is responsible for the operation of three One Stop Centers that serve an average of 30,000 individuals each year, and under his leadership, The WorkPlace has become a nationally recognized leader in creating innovative workforce programs.
Click here to view the video.Close
Platform to Employment aired on 60 MINUTES - for more info visit www.platformtoemployment.com or call us at (203) 610-8500
For more information about Platform to Employment, visit www.platformtoemployment.com or call us at (203) 610-8500. Getting the Long Term Jobless Back to Work (CBS News) People unemployed f ... Continue
For more information about Platform to Employment, visit www.platformtoemployment.com or call us at (203) 610-8500.
Getting the Long Term Jobless Back to Work
(CBS News) People unemployed for a long period tell Scott Pelley they have another hurdle to clear besides the dearth of jobs: the fact they haven't worked in a long time is being used against them by potential employers. Pelley talks to a group of so-called 99ers -the unemployed whose government benefits ceased at 99 weeks - and follows them for five weeks in an innovative program in Connecticut that is putting some 99ers back to work. Pelley's report will be broadcast on 60Minutes, Sunday, Feb. 19 at 7:00 p.m. ET/PT.
It was bad enough for Frank O'Neill to be unemployed for over three years, but something he read while seeking a job stabbed him in the heart. "I've seen it in print...I've actually seen, "If you are unemployed, you need not apply."
O'Neill is part of the long-term unemployed, a new minority group being legally discriminated against by want ad copy such as "Must Be Currently Employed." Joe Carbone is president of The Workplace, which has replaced what used to be the state unemployment office for southwest Connecticut. He explains why employers would do this. "There's a sense that if a person has been out of work for a year or longer, they might be lazy...would prefer to be home...lost too much already to be useful to me," he tells Pelley. "It's unfair and it's wrong."
That's why Carbone started Platform to Employment, a boot camp for the long-term jobless. The program teaches job applicants how to look for a job and to respond to inquiries about gaps in their resumes, but even more importantly, it re-instills the dignity and confidence long-term joblessness can rob from people. Another key aspect of Carbone's program is the paid internships that lead to permanent jobs. There are about a hundred people in the program, mostly middle-aged and college educated, mostly seeking similar jobs to the ones they lost. After five months, 53 of them got jobs; O'Neill was one of them.
He was attracted to the program because of its focus on finding the right job for him. "I was so prideful and so stubborn that I would not apply for part-time positions...at the grocery store...I wasn't going to flip burgers. I have a college education," O'Neil says. "I've been successful at work. I've been working for 30 years...so when this opportunity for Platform to Employment came along, I joined it and it changed my mindset," he tells Pelley.
Pelley speaks to several others who are among the lucky few who are reclaiming their own American dreams through Carbone's program in Stamford, Conn. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates there are four million people who have been out of work for 52 weeks or more and two million out for 99 weeks or more. Carbone calls this "carnage." "I can't think of a better word in this case...We ought to be angry, we ought to be giving every moment of our time figuring out how we are going to restore for them the American Dream."
For more information, visit www.platformtoemployment.com or call us toll free at 1-888-683-5221.Close
Joe Carbone talks about the Long-Term Unemployed on Rebuild America - a radio show about moving America forward.
Joe Carbone was interviewed on the “Rebuild America” radio show with host Jeff Santos. Listen to him discuss Platform to Employment and the challenges facing the long-term unemployed ... Continue
Joe Carbone was interviewed on the “Rebuild America” radio show with host Jeff Santos. Listen to him discuss Platform to Employment and the challenges facing the long-term unemployed at http://revolutionboston.com/podcast/2012-05/4729
Hosted by Jeff Santos, Weekdays 3-7pm EST, Rebuild America is the only radio program in the country that brings together entrepreneurs, union representatives, environmentalists, top politicians and leaders of business and industry to talk about real Blue-Green solutions to job creation and moving America forward to compete on a world-wide scale, with full employment and good jobs at good wages.
On Rebuild America, in the first hour, Jeff talks with newsmakers and union leaders about the economy, the employment situation, what's going on in Congress and the situation for workers. In the second hour Rebuild America goes green with environmentalists and entrepreneurs and other experts on new green technologies. In the third hour Rebuild America looks closely at the jobs situation as Jeff talks with economists and experts who can give you tips on getting a job and improving your employment situation.Close
Carbone’s Pipeline Call: Don’t Forget The 99ers
New Haven Independent By Paul Bass, April 25, 2012http://www.newhavenindependent.org/index.php/archives/entry/carbones_pipeline_call_dont_forget_the_99ers/ A hometown evangelist for 4 million forgot ... Continue
New Haven Independent
A hometown evangelist for 4 million forgotten Americans urged New Haven policymakers not to leave the “99ers” out of upcoming plans to link local people to jobs.
The evangelist was Joe Carbone (pictured above). When most of New Haven last saw him on a regular basis, he was the number-two man at City Hall, top aide to Mayor Biagio DiLieto through the 1980s.
Now Carbone has a new mission: connecting the long-term unemployed to jobs. He brought that mission—and a pitch—to town Wednesday afternoon to try to influence the way New Haven goes about trying to help people still recovering from the recession.
Carbone calls them the hidden “emerging class” of people whom businesses and politicians from both major parties are “leaving behind” in today’s tepid economy recovery. Factory workers, teachers, office workers, financial planners, middle managers, many over 50 years old, downsized out of career jobs, they have run through their 99 weeks of unemployment insurance or will soon. Many have given up trying to find work. As of March New Haven had 3,200 99ers, according to Carbone. nationally, 30,000 people a week are reaching that point. Over four million will have by the November elections.
Carbone has been speaking up for the 99ers and helping them find work as head of a not-for-profit Fairfield County agency called WorkPlace. A February 60 Minutes episode on the problem made him a star. (Click on the play arrow to watch it.) Thanks to the program Carbone is suddenly bringing a 99ers program he developed there to 33 communities around the country.
Where is the outrage? Carbone has been asking. “We should be angry!”
He has preached 99er fire and brimstone in 26 states and three countries, he said. But until Wednesday afternoon, he hadn’t done so in New Haven, the hometown where he still lives.
He brought his pitch to 21 movers and shakers over slices of Abate’s pizza the 10th floor Chamber of Commerce boardroom at 900 Chapel St. The occasion: the latest meeting of the Jobs Pipeline Working Group, a team of politicians and business leaders putting together a plan to link unemployed and underemployed local people to local jobs. It’s one of the top civic crusades du jour in New Haven. Much of the public discussion has focused on young people entering the workforce or adults needing basic skills or job-readiness training.
In fact, the largest sub-group of people coming to “one-stop” job centers like his (and like one envisioned for New Haven as part of the “pipeline” talk) are 99ers, said Carbone, who’s 62.
They have worked decades in jobs. They have skills. They know how to work.
But after they’ve been out of work for six months or so, Carbone said, they routinely have their resumes tossed from the stack of thousands sent to employers every time a job opens. They get discouraged. They go through life savings. They end up at food pantries.
And the country has forgotten them, the collateral damage of “structural” change.
Instead of helping them, politicians are opting not to extend unemployment benefits. And they “cheer” and “take credit” for figures showing unemployment starting to drop—a “drop” that comes about in part not because of new jobs, but because people no longer count as “unemployed” if they’ve stopped seeking work. Some people whose “values” would normally draw them to support the downtrodden, he said before his talk, have written off the 99ers as the unfortunate sacrificial lambs of a new economic order.
“It’s bone-chilling,” Carbone subsequently told the pipeline group.
After all previous recessions since World War II, people eventually got their jobs back, Carbone said. It took four years for the U.S. to regain the jobs lost in the 2000 recession, for instance. Four years after the start of the most recent recession, most of the jobs haven’t come back—and many won’t, because of how business has changed. “Growth” now means that when companies start making more money, they look for ways other than hiring human beings to meet increased demand. Instead they turn to technology (which is cheaper) or for ways to “do more with less.”
The result has been “the emergence of a new class,” whom Carbone called the “victims of structural economic change.”
“Several million people walked the plank,” he said.
The program Carbone has developed in Fairfield County, called Platform to Employment, combines technical skills retraining with motivational “hope” guidance. Instructors talk about the emotional fallout of unemployment on families, the loss of confidence suffered by former breadwinners, the kind of help that’s available in the community.
Carbone has pushed employers to take on 99ers. He convinces them to open the door to his 99ers at least through eight-week internships. And, the onetime political campaign organizer, said before Wednesday’s talk, he has been urging 99ers to band together and approach their elected officials. To seek extensions of unemployment benefits—and to demand that their cause not be forgotten.Close
Applications Available for Summer Youth Program. Youth and Businesses Welcome to Apply.
Bridgeport, Connecticut - May 1, 2012 The WorkPlace is proud to announce the 2012 Earn & Learn Summer Employment Program. The program is expected to place approximately 330 Southwestern Co ... Continue
Bridgeport, Connecticut - May 1, 2012
The WorkPlace is proud to announce the 2012 Earn & Learn Summer Employment Program. The program is expected to place approximately 330 Southwestern Connecticut youth into summer jobs and will give priority to individuals from low income households.
The Summer Youth Employment Program will pay youth (ages 14-21) for 20 hours per week at minimum wage for up to 7 weeks starting in July. Federal guidelines and eligibility requirements must be met in order for a youth to participate in the program. Youths may begin applying today. Applications are available by visiting www.workplace.org and must be received by May 23rd.
The WorkPlace is also seeking employers willing to hire youth for the summer. Active recruitment for Work Sites is underway. Businesses, non-profit organizations, or municipal government agencies may hire a youth for the summer at no cost. Wages are paid directly by The WorkPlace. Youth cannot replace laid-off employees and the program excludes the following recreation-oriented job sites: swimming pools, golf courses, aquariums, zoos, and casinos. For the 2012 Summer Worksite Agreement, click here.
This Summer Youth Employment program creates excellent opportunities for local youth to gain meaningful work experience while earning needed income. For participating employers, the program provides motivated youth who have completed work readiness preparation. By hosting one or more youth Work Site receive enthusiastic support for their existing workforce at no cost. Collectively, our community benefits by developing our young workforce.
Employers interested in becoming a host Work Site, please contact David Harris at 203-610-8568 or firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information on how youth can apply for the program please visit www.workplace.org
About The WorkPlace The WorkPlace conducts comprehensive planning, and coordinates regional workforce development policy and programs to prepare people for careers while strengthening the workforce for employers. As national leader in the field, The WorkPlace regularly shares ideas and best practices with lawmakers, foundations, think tanks and other workforce development organizations around the country. For more information, visit www.workplace.org.Close
State Summer/Seasonal Job Opportunities
Unemployed youth and adult jobseekers interested in state summer/seasonal job opportunities should visit http://www.ctdol.state.ct.us/Seasonal%20State%20Positions.html and complete the ... Continue
Unemployed youth and adult jobseekers interested in state summer/seasonal job opportunities should visit http://www.ctdol.state.ct.us/Seasonal%20State%20Positions.html and complete the registration form. Jobseekers that complete the registration may or may not be contacted by state agencies. Contact and formal application to these opportunities will be determined by the respective state agency.Close
Joe Carbone and one of our P2E graduates appear on MSNBC
Long term unemployment: The other ‘99ers’ - Though the jobs report released by the White House on Friday touted promising economic statistics, the number of long term une ... Continue
Long term unemployment: The other ‘99ers’ - Though the jobs report released by the White House on Friday touted promising economic statistics, the number of long term unemployed Americans is still staggering. Melissa Harris-Perry, along with The WorkPlace's Joe Carbone and Melanie Douglas-Seawright, and comedian Elon James White, discuss the issues involved with many Americans who need a job in order to qualify to get a new one, leaving the unemployed in the dust. Click here to view the video on MSNBC.Close
Statement of Joseph M. Carbone Before the United States House of Representatives (3/21/2012)
Statement of Joseph M. Carbone President and CEO, The WorkPlace (203) 610-8502, email@example.com Before the Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies, Comm ... Continue
Statement of Joseph M. Carbone
Good morning Chairman Rehberg, Ranking Member DeLauro and Members of the Subcommittee. Thank you for inviting me to testify about Veterans Employment and Training Programs. My name is Joseph Carbone, and I am CEO of The WorkPlace, a 30-year-old, Fairfield County, Connecticut nonprofit. The WorkPlace acts as the Workforce Investment Board for southwestern Connecticut and is responsible for the operation of three One Stop Centers in our region, serving an average of 30,000 individuals each year, including over 2000 Veterans. I appreciate the opportunity to discuss the array of employment-related services available to our returning veterans through America’s workforce development system.
The One Stop system and its network of partners is the foundation of the American workforce development structure. This system is designed to deliver and provide access to a host of services to help people gain employment. The WorkPlace works closely with a vast number of provider partners and employers as well as the Connecticut Department of Labor’s Office for Veterans Workforce Development and its Local Veterans Employment Representatives (LVER), and its Disabled Veterans Outreach Program (DVOP) to ensure the delivery of an array of veteran-specific services through the One Stop delivery system. Through the One Stops in southwestern Connecticut, veterans can receive access to a variety of employment readiness workshops, skills training, technology classes, job search, education refreshers and language skills as well as case management and job placement support.
At the WorkPlace, we understand that the needs of the unemployed and the underemployed in today’s economy require us to seek ways to enhance the traditional One Stop services to help support individuals as they seek employment. In an effort to provide value added services in the One Stops we conceptualized, designed, created and sought private funding for a Community Resource Center (CRC). The center is the hub of supportive services in the One Stop and is supported by corporate and foundation support. With these private dollars, veterans receive financial assistance to help with food, utility bills and security deposits as well as purchase special equipment or tools, immunizations, licenses, and car repairs to obtain or retain employment. The CRC also houses partner agency staff to help veterans obtain energy assistance, rental assistance, and foreclosure prevention services in addition to financial counseling, literacy, as well as help with non-custodial parenting and child support modification assistance.
Our One Stop is a VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance) site in additional to being an Employment Network to serve people with disabilities. Our Disability Services unit provides specialize employment services for those with disabilities, specifically veterans. Our One Stop has all the adaptive technology that one with a disability would need to seek work, in addition to trained staff who participate in case conferencing with staff from the Vocational Rehab agencies to ensure coordinated services. Our telework website was designed specifically to help people with disabilities explore and prepare for telework opportunities.
We have been fortunate to leverage the infrastructure of the One Stop to obtain competitive grants to provide specific services to veterans. These grants include three, 3 year Homeless Veterans Reintegration grants over the past decade, a three-year Incarcerated Veterans Transition Program grant, and a three-year grant providing green sector-based training and employment services to recently separated veterans. Each of these grants has “filled a gap” by providing additional opportunities to help veterans and their families regain their footing.
Our Homeless Veterans Reintegration program (HVRP) provides homeless veterans services to assist their reintegration into meaningful employment. The HVRP is important because it is an initial step in providing employment solutions to the ever increasing number of homeless servicemen and women. Through the HVRP program, we have cultivated partnerships with the Veterans Administration, transitional housing programs (Homes for the Brave and Columbus House) and organizations that provide mental health and addiction services. Veterans in this program receive intensive case management and classroom training, as well as supported job placement and retention services. The employment statistics and retention outcomes for this grant have been stellar, with over 60 homeless veterans entering employment each year and a nearly 70% retaining employment after 180 days.
The Incarcerated Veterans Transition Program (IVTP) is a statewide program which provides incarcerated veterans at risk of homelessness with options for stable housing, as well as employment services (which begin prior to release). IVTP program staff work with veterans to develop transition plans which include housing, employment and other work supports. Our goal is to reduce the likelihood of recidivism by fostering a stable situation for our veterans. The WorkPlace collaborates with veteran-serving organizations through IVTP and work closely with the State of Connecticut’s Department of Corrections, along with its Division of Parole and Office of Probation to coordinate activities following release. We have been successful in securing housing for formerly incarcerated veterans and employment in a variety of industry sectors. We have an 86% retention rate in employment for these vets and an average wage at placement of $12.00 per hour.
Our Sector-Based Veterans Program provides green classroom and on-the-job training to recently separated veterans. Through this program we offer training which provides stackable credentials in the green and renewable energy sector. By working with veteran-friendly employers, The WorkPlace has been able to secure several on-the-job training opportunities that have led to permanent employment for veterans. This grant serves 200 veterans per year and has provided veterans with sustainable careers in green.
Funding for all three of the programs discussed above was competitively awarded by the United States Department of Labor, Office of Veterans Employment Services.
The success of these programs is due to the combination of grant-funded services with additional services leveraged through the One Stop infrastructure. Effectively meeting the unique needs of veterans requires an array of flexible programming. Neither element by itself is sufficient to ensure that all of our veterans receive the necessary assistance to return to employment. A combined effort is required for two reasons.
First, the current workforce development system was created by the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) of 1998 and was designed against a background of a 4.5% national unemployment rate and projections of labor shortages. Its focus was on short-term, pre-vocational workshops and training. Under WIA, veterans receive priority for services through the One Stop system—services ranging from pre-employment workshops to career management counseling to skills training to enhanced educational opportunities. These services are available to all populations, including veterans as well as low-income adults, TANF recipients, dislocated workers, at-risk youth, and persons with disabilities. They must be delivered in the context of local unemployment which is nearly double the rate at the system’s creation, in the face of dramatically increasing employer demand for skills, and while serving multiple populations.
Second, veterans also present a host of challenges similar to those facing the long-term unemployed—challenges which extend beyond employment, into emotional, behavioral, and financial issues. Veterans have spent years outside the civilian workforce, and the effects of years of service and the transition back to civilian life are often similar to being out of work for a significant period of time. Self-confidence falters, concerns (legitimate or not) grow that employment skills have atrophied, and basics such as housing and food hinder progress. Many veterans can achieve long-term success returning to employment only after these fundamental needs have been addressed.
In southwestern Connecticut, we have successfully addressed many challenges interfering with veterans and/or their family members as they prepare to re-enter the workforce. The WorkPlace leverages WIA dollars to support additional training required by employers and bring in partners to provide access to other support services. We have built a solid network of partners and employers that support male and female veterans and their families, so veterans coming to our One Stops are not looking for work in isolation of other issues they experience. These are critical wraparound services that support a veteran through the search for employment.
Unfortunately, it is common for programs outside the employment system to deal with some of these issues, only to refer veterans to the unemployment system much later. Similarly, many veterans get pure employment assistance without the other services necessary to provide the stability that enables them to hold a job over the long term.
There are two key steps that will significantly enhance the workforce development system’s capacity to offer coordinated services to veterans. First, any resources for veteran’s employment and training should be allocated through the One Stop system. One Stops are already designed to provide multiple services, with capacity for case management, assessment of needs and coordination of programming. With more resources focused on veterans’ needs, One Stops can enhance the services offered directly, or through local partners, to address challenges beyond the existing scope of workforce development.
Second, to increase employer engagement and raise the profile of employers who are committed to the employment of veterans, Workforce Investment Boards should be required to have a minimum of 10% of the business members of the Board of Directors come from employers who have an established culture of hiring and promoting the hiring of veterans. These veteran employer champions could educate their peers on the benefits of hiring veterans and serve as model community leaders. They would also serve a key role in engaging partners to provide more comprehensive services through the One Stop delivery system and raising awareness of veterans’ employment challenges.
The American workforce system is uniquely positioned to adapt and align its programming to meet the needs of veterans. Providing a more comprehensive array of programming through the nationwide One Stop infrastructure will create a more streamlined, comprehensive and effective approach to serving our veterans, as we honor their service.Close
Platform to Employment: WorkPlace program offers job hope to ‘99ers’
Written by Andrew Brophy Wednesday, 21 March 2012 Patrick Sheridan knows all about the Great Recession. He's lived it. Sheridan, a Stratford resident, was, until recently, a "99er" — someone ... Continue
Written by Andrew Brophy
Patrick Sheridan knows all about the Great Recession. He's lived it.
Sheridan, a Stratford resident, was, until recently, a "99er" — someone unemployed past the 99-week limit to receive unemployment insurance benefits under federal law.
Sheridan was laid off from an accounting job in Stamford in May 2009, about 18 months after the Great Recession technically began, and found getting a new job was next to impossible.
He said he used websites devoted to job seekers and landed interviews, but the competition in an employer's market was tough. He said he didn't have experience using the brand of accounting software that many firms required, and owners of firms where he interviewed either promoted from within or hired someone else.
"Over two years, I sent out 300 résumés," Sheridan said in a recent interview in the kitchen of his Blueberry Lane home. "I was about to give up hope."
Sheridan would later learn that he faced another obstacle during his two-year job search — the longer he was unemployed, the less appealing he was to a potential employer.
But Sheridan's luck changed about a month after his unemployment insurance benefits ran out. He received, through the mail, information about a program called "Platform to Employment," a program run by The WorkPlace Inc. in Bridgeport that is specifically aimed at the long-term unemployed.
Sheridan said competition for the "P2E" program, which was recently profiled on the "60 Minutes" television news program, was tough — only 100 people were going to be selected. But Sheridan, who said he knew the state had thousands of 99ers like him, took his chance, applied and was accepted.
"If the program didn't come around, I don't know what I'd be doing right now...It gave me hope and a reason to get up in the morning, go to classes and learn, and it built up my self-esteem and confidence," he said.
Sheridan said the classes in résumé writing and job interviewing were useful, but he also learned what he was doing wrong in his job search and had access to The WorkPlace's connections.
"They have a lot of connections. They have a lot of employers in the program wanting to help 99ers," he said. "Having connections is important in the job search, other than LinkedIn."
Sheridan started the P2E program in October, graduated in early December and landed a job as a controller at Gulick Development in Bridgeport on Jan. 11. He said Gulick Development wanted to hire someone with QuickBooks experience, which was the software he had used.
The position Sheridan found himself in after losing his job in May 2009 is far from unique.
Between May 2010 and January 2012, 67,759 people in Connecticut became 99ers, and from 550 to 650 continue to exhaust unemployment insurance benefits every week. In southwestern Connecticut, those figures are 12,483 and from 100 to 125, respectively, according to the state Department of Labor.
Nationally, nearly 3 million people have exhausted unemployment benefits, and 75,000 people in Connecticut will be in that position by October, according to Joseph M. Carbone, president and CEO of The WorkPlace.
"We're building a class of people that are unemployable because of the length of their unemployment, and they're falling into a safety net that is already stretched," Carbone said in a recent interview in The WorkPlace's Fairfield Avenue office.
The long-term unemployed face unique challenges, which include a perception by potential employers that they're lazy and have been out of the workforce too long to have up-to-date skills and knowledge, Carbone said. Also, continually applying for jobs and not getting them erodes their self-confidence and causes them to "be stripped of the faith of hope at a time when you need it most," he added.
But the P2E program doesn't only benefit the long-term unemployed. It also benefits employers because The WorkPlace pays the salary of a new hire for eight weeks, giving employers a risk-free way to determine if the new employee is a good match.
Each subsidy costs $6,000, and Carbone said he raised $600,000 for the P2E program by going on the road in May 2010 and talking to people in the business, banking, non-profit and healthcare fields.
"We sold 100 shares at $6,000 apiece to individuals," he said. "I had a couple of folks that refused, but, by and large, people generally saw the value in it, and people understood that we're blessed and lucky."
Of the 100 long-term unemployed people who signed up for the P2E program, 60 have been placed in jobs, and all of the people who went onto their employers' payrolls after the two-month subsidy have remained with their jobs, Carbone said. "So far, no one has been dismissed during the subsidy period," he said.
Sheridan said he had to take a pay cut to work at Gulick Development but was thankful to have the job and liked the people he was working with. "I'm looking forward to converting to their payroll," he said.
Carbone said companies are able to pay less and require employees to take on more responsibility because of the large pool of applicants. He said the Great Recession that began in December 2007 was unlike the half-dozen recessions since World War II and would have lasting effects — not only on the overall unemployment rate, which Carbone expects to remain high, but on millions of people who lost jobs or couldn't find jobs.
"We're going to have higher unemployment than we've ever been accustomed to for a longer period of time than we've ever been accustomed to," he said. "This recession was long, and it was deep, and it was protracted, and it's left in its tracks a very competitive and challenging economic world."
The Great Recession technically began in December 2007 and ended in June 2009 based on the definition of a recession being two quarters of negative growth in the GDP, or gross domestic product, Carbone said. But he added, "I don't think there are many people who will tell you they think the recession is over.
"I think we're going to get to a point where we're probably going to be cheering when unemployment hits 7.5%. At some point it's going to level off, but it's not going to the 4's in the next several years. You need 230,000 new jobs a month just to stay even," he said.
Carbone said he tells clients of The WorkPlace that the first thing they have to do is get a job. That may seem self-evident, but Carbone said some people only look for jobs in certain fields and shun part-time work. "As long as you're unemployed, there's not a reason for businesses to consider you," he said. He said The WorkPlace will help people find a job either in their previous career or help them determine what their next career could be.
The second thing Carbone tells a client of The WorkPlace is to examine what they did before they became unemployed and assess how marketable those skills are. He also tells them to look for jobs in segments of the economy that are growing, such as healthcare. "That sector of the economy is growing," Carbone said. "It's also a diversifying field. There are a lot of good jobs coming on the medical billing side."
Some areas of the "green economy" also have jobs, particularly in home energy audits and energy assistance programs, Carbone said.
In some instances, The WorkPlace can pay up to $3,000 for training so people can gain credentials for a job, Carbone said. "There are very few careers where you don't have to produce a credential. There are countless numbers of positions that require a training certificate...That can take a matter of weeks or a matter of months," he said.
But Carbone added, "I'm not going to sign a contract for any training opportunity where you can't reasonably expect job openings. It's not a matter [where] you come in and pick out a program and decide 'That's what I'm going to do.' "
More education will be needed for careers in the future because older people with bachelor's degrees are competing against new college graduates who have those degrees and who may be more tech savvy, Carbone said.
The WorkPlace also has programs for the short-term unemployed, Carbone said. "When you walk in the door, we've got services for you, no matter how long you've been unemployed," he said. "The majority that come through our door are not long-term [unemployed], but the percentage of them that are, it increases every month."
The WorkPlace is launching another jobs' program, funded by a $200,000 grant from the AARP, for people at least 50 years old who are long-term unemployed. The WorkPlace also is actively seeking contributions to continue Platform to Employment for the general population, Carbone said.
When Carbone started at The WorkPlace in 1996, he said the economy was expanding at an unprecedented rate. "We spent the first dozen years I was here planning for a time when we would have more jobs than people who need them...The focus was on, 'How do we compensate for the inability to grow the population?'"
In stark contrast, the Great Recession has been long and deep and many people have given up looking for work, Carbone said. He said more and more Baby Boomers are hanging onto their jobs, instead of retiring, because they need the health insurance that comes with their jobs and their 401Ks took a massive hit. He added that more and more people are also entering, or trying to enter, the workforce, expanding the number of applicants for jobs that are available.
The Great Recession, Carbone said, has posed "a moral challenge" to Americans. He said people need to ask if it's acceptable for a recession "to weed out four to five million Americans from the workforce, some of whom may have been on the perimeters, but others who were caught up in the energy of change and were disposed of?
"Do we have an obligation as an American to never give up on our people?" Carbone asked. "Do we provide services for the long-term unemployed?"
Carbone said that what he believes the P2E program "is saying to us is there are things we can do to give them a fighting chance.
"If we don't do our part to keep hope alive for these people...it makes us complicit in their demise," he said. "We have an obligation as Americans to help those who are in the eye of the storm, through no fault of their own, to have a fighting chance and to spare them from the destitution that comes from hopelessness."Close
Number One for the '99ers'
Monday, 5 March 2012 www.conntact.com The Workplace’s Carbone is trying to change the way we think about long-term unemployment Joseph Carbone is CEO of the Workplace, ... Continue
Monday, 5 March 2012 www.conntact.com
The Workplace’s Carbone is trying to change the way we think about long-term unemployment
Joseph Carbone is CEO of the Workplace, one of the five Regional Workforce Development Boards in Connecticut. The Workplace serves communities from Greenwich up the Gold Coast and into the Naugatuck Valley north as far as Oxford. Carbone became CEO in 1996 following a career in private industry as an executive for the Textron Corp. On February 17 the CBS News program 60 Minutes aired a feature on Carbone and his efforts to help workers facing long-term unemployment. By the next day the emotional feature generated hundreds of calls and e-mails about his research and initiative known as Platform to Employment. (The 60 Minutes feature may be viewed at workplace.org.)
By ’96 things were really getting pretty good. The unemployment rate was moving downward, the economy was expanding so quickly that within six months it was clear we needed to get prepared in Fairfield County for the day when we had more jobs than people. We did some interesting things to build up the skill, education and credential levels of our citizenry, so that productivity through technology would be used to sustain this region, during a period of labor shortage. It worked pretty well until the recession.
Sixty Minutes came calling about the plight of the long-term unemployment. The Workplace's Joe Carbone is hoping it wil change the national dialogue.
How did the employment change play out?
We were under five percent [unemployment] by the first month of the recession, but by late 2008, 2009 even after the recession was over and the “official” recovery began, in June-July ‘09 we were continuing to see our unemployment number rise.
How were the lowest income and education groups doing before the recession in Fairfield County? Was there a shortage of labor across the board, or just the higher-educated workforce?
When you have a lot of high-level, high-wage jobs that we have in the financial sector [in Stamford], there is a multiplier effect. You hire somebody at a UBS or RBS that makes $250,000 a year, they’re going to spend [much] of that money locally. It has this effect of constantly growing the local economy, Bridgeport’s unemployment number was never lower, it was down in the five-percent level.
When most people get a call from 60 Minutes they tell their secretary they’re out to lunch. How did the 60 Minutes piece come about?
I didn’t reach out [to CBS]. We just got a call last August. I had seen a piece that [60 Minutes’] Scott Pelley did in 2010, where he focused on long-term unemployed in Simi Valley, Calif. The person who called was aware of our ‘Campaign for Hope’ that I created about a year before when I began to see the numbers building on the ‘99’ issue [people receiving unemployment benefits for 99 weeks or more]. They’re called ‘99ers,’ and that’s become part of the stigma they have to live with. They’ve had UI [unemployment insurance benefits] for 99 weeks; the benefits end and they’re still out of work. When the numbers [in that group] began to surge, I knew we had to do something in a very fundamental way to change our system. I started the ‘Campaign for Hope,’ taking the issue on the road to create awareness and a sense of community support for some initiative.
I wasn’t even sure what it would be at the time, but we would try to create awareness, some remedies and mostly find ways to instill hope in these folks.
It’s probably the most important thing I’ve done here in 16 years.
Is there anything that really pushed you toward this issue?
I didn’t really understand much about 99ers except I knew they must have been hurting. I got an e-mail one day from Connecticut’s acting commissioner of labor in May 2010. It said, ‘On May 15, 12,000 people in Connecticut will lose their UI benefits [having exhausted 99 weeks of benefits], and therefore I’m going to put a police officer at all the One-Stops [state unemployment offices] in Connecticut beginning on that day.’ I thought, these people are going to be losing their benefits, they’ve been out of work for two years and the remedy is a police officer at the One-Stops. From that day on I got myself involved emotionally and otherwise into the issue.
Many people have little sympathy for someone otherwise capable being out of work so long. You don’t think that’s justified?
If you go back to where we were a year and a half ago, unemployment was in the nines and over ten percent. We were losing jobs in the economy month after month. You heard the term ‘recession’ and ‘depression.’ The feds kept extending and extending the extra benefit program. People became convinced we would have to wait it out. In previous recessions, almost everyone would return to the same kind of work they held before and in a reasonable time. People waited, but they didn’t wait because they had so many jobs they were saying no to — there were no jobs out there. The benefits were being extended and that’s a message: ‘We understand there are no jobs out there. Then you reach a point that the number of weeks you’ve been unemployed is in and of itself the single greatest barrier to you getting a job again.
Are you saying there is discrimination against the longtime unemployed?
There is no question that some companies are abusive about it — they actually put it in advertisements. But it is more fundamental. When you have unemployment at eight percent, you have businesses that have to be very focused on their bottom line. We’re going through a period when you have some great talent within the unemployed, the underemployed and the employed, and a business can go through a program to re-package its human capital. Every time you post a job [opening] you can get 200 or 300 applicants. [Employers] can say, ‘I’m not going to consider any applicant who’s been out of work for a year or more.’ That is a dynamic of business that has resulted from this recession. I’m not criticizing it; I’m a free-market guy. But what that does for those with long-term unemployment is it makes them a victim.
We still often hear from employers — manufacturers, for example — that are still having problems finding the workers they need. Your data shows the majority of workers who lost jobs in manufacturing didn’t return to that industry when they do find a job.
That fact is exaggerated. A lot of companies going through this process of repackaging their human capital will take a [job] that’s available and pack it with new requirements, and in some cases they’ll also reduce the pay. In this environment they can still get applicants, and if they don’t they say, ‘We can’t find anybody.’ If that position is so important to your business you would find somebody, train somebody. This is a buyer’s market — that’s what my program tries to accept and acknowledge.
How does the program work?
There are lots of other special populations and we make provisions to compensate for whatever barriers they have [to employment]. We don’t have an obligation to create a job for everyone; that’s not going to happen. Our job is to create this level playing field.
What do you mean special groups?
Veterans, dislocated worker, a person with a disability, people on re-entry [from incarceration], which is a big project in New Haven. We have a lot of special populations, we never had to worry about long-term unemployment. Now we have on a national level four million people in this category, and this group equals all other special populations in the system.
Besides being unemployed for a long time, what makes this population ‘special’?
It is very different if you’re out of the job for a year or longer than being unemployed for three months. You get depressed, you often have problems at home, you lose your self-esteem. You can’t begin to talk about ‘re-careering’ or retraining if you have emotional issues like that in your life. The programs have to include special assistance, and we have to get you back into a fighting mode, to get the spirits, the motivation level up, where you can market yourself. I tried to do that with this P2E [Platform to Employment] program, the program featured on 60 Minutes. I went out privately and raised almost $600,000 from companies, foundations, private individuals. The money was to be used to provide a wage subsidy. Once we dealt with the emotional issues, [program participants] went into a job search. Once they found an employer they would remain on my payroll, the Workplace [for eight weeks]. It was like a staffing arrangement. I had money I raised privately, no government money, to prove that he or she could do that job as well as anyone else.
Why was it important that it was private money?
If it’s government [money], a lot of businesses will not even do business with you. If it’s government money it’s going to carry all of the regulations that come with government money.
So what are the results of this initiative?
We started out with 100 people. Six dropped out. I dismissed two because they turned down two jobs. As of last Tuesday, we had a [remaining] group of 92, and I have 53 employed. Not a single person who was employed has lost the job. Not one who has reached the eight-week point wasn’t hired.
What are the demographics of the group?
They are good people. I’ve had investment bankers, teachers — the whole gamut of employment disciplines. They come from Greenwich, from Bridgeport; are black, white, Hispanic; half are over 50 [years old]. They are Americans that were at the wrong place at the wrong time, and they can’t figure out what hit them. I hope this [publicity] will serve to get the system to redefine long-term employment. Right now the definition is anybody who goes beyond 26 weeks. But then it is the same service if you’re out of work for 26 weeks or out of work for 126 weeks.Close
Watch Platform to Employment on 60 MINUTES Overtime
Click here to watch "60 MINUTES" Overtime They discovered it by accident. When Scott Pelley and his team of producers set out to profile Joe Carbone and his Platform to Employment program, they s ... Continue
Click here to watch "60 MINUTES" Overtime
They discovered it by accident. When Scott Pelley and his team of producers set out to profile Joe Carbone and his Platform to Employment program, they started hearing similar comments from people who are out of work: if you've been unemployed for a year or more, some companies won't even give you an interview.
Although it's not hard to find job ads that say "must be currently employed," Pelley's producer Henry Schuster says that bias against the jobless can often be insidious. "Some of these people refer to it as 'the silent no,'" said Schuster. "But there's also the pretty overt 'we don't want you.'"
Associate producer Rachael Kun spent nearly six months following the progress of a group of jobless men and women in Connecticut who were enrolled in the Platform for Employment program. "There's obviously a stigma," said Kun. "Employers tend to believe that it's the individual's fault if he can't find a job."
There is currently a bill pending in Congress that would protect the rights of the unemployed. (You can read more about that bill and its sponsors here.) What do you think? Should there be a law against this kind of discrimination? Or is it a reasonable way for employers to choose the best candidate for a job? Close
AARP Foundation Awards $200,000 in Grant Funding To The WorkPlace. Funding Will Expand Successful Platform to Employment Program and Help Vulnerable, Older, Unemployed Workers.
Bridgeport, CT (February 7, 2012) – Today, The WorkPlace announces receipt of a $200,000 grant to expand services provided through our Platform to Employment (P2E) program and address the spec ... Continue
Bridgeport, CT (February 7, 2012) –
Today, The WorkPlace announces receipt of a $200,000 grant to expand services provided through our Platform to Employment (P2E) program and address the specific needs of older, unemployed workers. With the addition of AARP Foundation funds, P2E will recruit and serve long-term unemployed workers who are over 50 years of age.
Many of the jobs for these workers have been eliminated and they need encouragement and assistance to sharpen their skills in preparation for new careers. These funds will support intensive core skills as well as occupational skills training.
P2E is an initiative never before attempted by a workforce investment board. The investment by an organization with the stature of AARP Foundation is an acknowledgement of The WorkPlace’s entrepreneurial approach to workforce development and will expand our capacity to assist underserved populations.
Over 3 million older adults are searching for work and many are dealing with the impact of long-term unemployment. AARP Foundation is working to reverse the downward spiral that many older Americans and their families face.
“The current economic uncertainty has left many older Americans concerned about making ends meet,” said Phyllis L. Kim, AARP Foundation senior vice president, Office of Grants Administration. “AARP Foundation is already in communities across the country helping vulnerable Americans with direct services, but we believe strongly that we must also invest in long-term solutions. We look forward to working with our innovative grantees who share our goals so that together, we can seed hope for older Americans who are struggling.”
There is a critical need to restore the long-term unemployed to the labor force. These mature workers face daunting challenges, with evidence showing that prospective employers are often unwilling to hire workers who have been unemployed for an extended time. That stigma is often compounded by atrophy of job skills and a collapse of confidence. P2E provides a customized system of job readiness training and access to potential jobs with local employers in a range of industries.
“Platform to Employment is the only project of its kind in the nation and it is already has shown promising results in placing participants in jobs,” said Joe Carbone, President & CEO of The WorkPlace. “We have seen a number of socially responsive employers, good corporate citizens, step forward and consider hiring local workers through P2E.”
The initial pilot program of P2E enrolled 100 people, each of whom attend five weeks of mandatory workshops on resume writing, interview preparation, self-marketing and other skills. Participants are then matched with employers who have job openings. The program enables employers to have a risk free evaluation of participants during an eight week trial period where wages are subsidized by The WorkPlace. The expectation is that at the end of the work experience, employers will permanently hire worthy participants to their own payrolls. In the program’s first few weeks following training workshops, nearly 50% of graduates have been placed in jobs, and the remaining individuals continue to work with program managers on their job search.
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About The WorkPlace
About AARP Foundation
The Platform to Employment program for older workers will not start until late March. For more info, please call Mike Morgan at (203) 610-8572 or complete the P2E application at http://www.workplace.org/survey.php. Please note that interviews for this cohort will not begin until mid-March.Close
For One Electrician, Green Industry Brings Lot of Light on Christmas
CT Post, December 26, 2011 - Vinti Singh STRATFORD -- He needed some help, just enough to make him able to help someone else someday. That's what Ronald Patton said 10 months ago, sipping hot coffee ... Continue
CT Post, December 26, 2011 - Vinti Singh
STRATFORD -- He needed some help, just enough to make him able to help someone else someday. That's what Ronald Patton said 10 months ago, sipping hot coffee on a cold day in the University of Bridgeport student cafeteria. Ten months ago he had no car, was unemployed, and was living in a home for recovering drug addicts.
Now it's Christmas, and he's sitting in a sun-dappled living room in a Stratford house on the marsh, his Chevy Blazer parked on the street outside. His housemate is in the kitchen, peeling shrimp for the enormous dinner they'll have later that night. There are empty gift bags and lots of crumpled wrapping paper in the den down the hall. They're the remnants of the Christmas presents he bought for his friend's children. His friend got laid off a month ago, so Patton invited them over for the holiday.
"He called me up, and I said, `man, I've got you,' " Patton said. "I'm an old Southern boy and I believe in helping a neighbor. I'm just trying to help him get back on his feet."
Patton's promise to himself finally fulfilled.
Patton is one of 500 city residents who enrolled in Green-Up Bridgeport, an employment program of The WorkPlace, Inc., Southwestern Connecticut's Regional Workforce Board. Funded by a $4 million federal grant, the program trains people for emerging jobs in the green industry. The grant was part of a $150 million nationwide package from federal stimulus funds called "Pathways Out of Poverty." The program pays for the necessary training and certifications to get jobs in emerging green industries.
Patton had decades of experience as an electrician, but because he wasn't properly certified, he could only get odd jobs. Through the Green-Up program, he got a number of construction licenses, including lead abatement and asbestos removal.
When he was last interviewed by the Connecticut Post, he had joined a union and landed full-time work with an asbestos and lead removal firm, which was doing remediation work on a Bridgeport school. But just about two weeks after the interview, the company had to lay off its employees because the project was delayed.
Through his union, Patton was able to get a job at a remediation site of an old General Electric complex on Boston Avenue. He's one of a handful of people from his Green-Up class who are being employed by the project.
He expects the work to last well into next year, and said the subcontractor, Brandenburg, a demolition and industrial service company, may hire him for other projects once the GE work is finished. The jobs might take him away from Bridgeport to upstate New York or beyond, but Patton is ready to go wherever the opportunity is.
It means he will have to leave the family he has made for himself in the Northeast, which includes classmates from the Green-Up program. They regularly call each other to check in and give updates on their job searches.
On Christmas morning he received a call from Jennifer Carter, a fellow student he first met at the introductory course at UB. She wished him a happy holiday and gave him the good news -- she got a full time job too, as an energy auditor. She started three days ago. Carter, the only woman in the introductory class, is now one of two women working for Mr. Handyman, a home repair company. Her co-workers call them Mrs. Handyman.
Carter's first passion is graphic design. She has a degree in it, but could not find paid work as a designer. As an energy auditor, she is making more money than she expected.
"I did spend a little extra this Christmas because I knew I had this," Carter said.
Her goal is to save enough money to buy a house -- she currently rents one in Black Rock -- and help her five daughters become self sufficient.
Carter's 24-year-old daughter LaTasha Williamson said over the past 10 months, she and her sisters have been kicked out of the house so their mother could study for an upcoming test in the Green-Up program.
"She showed her eagerness to make it and I'm proud," Williamson said. "I get my (independence) from her. Because of her I know I can do it, too."Close
Grant to enhance WorkPlace programs
As published in the Fairfield County Business Journal The WorkPlace Inc. has received a $100,000 grant from Citi Community Development to enhance services currently offered through Platform to Employ ... Continue
As published in the Fairfield County Business Journal
The WorkPlace Inc. has received a $100,000 grant from Citi Community Development to enhance services currently offered through Platform to Employment (P2E). Our innovative P2E program offers comprehensive support to long-term unemployed people who are the victims of the recent recession. In addition to job-readiness programs we offer professional health and family services to program participants.
Now with the support of Citi Community Development, participants will also improve their household money management skills and begin to rebuild their credit during a time when many lack regular income and are financially overextended. By adding financial coaching and credit-building we can dramatically improve the likelihood of financial success and long-term stability for our participants.
There is a critical need to restore the long-term unemployed to the labor force. During the period from May 2010 through October 2011, 11,338 people in southwest Connecticut exhausted the maximum 99 weeks of unemployment benefits. By January 2012, the total is expected to increase to 13,000. These residents face daunting challenges, with evidence showing that prospective employers are often unwilling to hire workers who have been unemployed for an extended time. That stigma is often compounded by atrophy of job skills and a collapse of confidence.
In addition, the long-term unemployed frequently grapple with the deterioration of their finances. Many prospective employers review credit reports to qualify candidates, but the long-term unemployed often have damaged credit due to the length of time they have been out of the workforce and inadequate restructuring of finances to account for drastically reduced incomes.
The WorkPlace’s new collaboration with Citi addresses this need.
These services will be provided by Housing Development Fund (HDF) of Stamford, which has extensive experience in providing counseling for at-risk families. This expansion of P2E services will enable the long-term unemployed to receive the tools needed to begin rebuilding their credit and re-enter the financial mainstream.
P2E calls upon good corporate citizens such as Citi Community Development to get involved. This partnership is a compelling example of how private investment and a caring community can reignite hope for the 99ers who remain jobless.
Joseph M. Carbone
The WorkPlace and Citi Community Development to Expand Platform to Employment Program for Connecticut’s Long-Term Unemployed
New Collaboration Will Add Critical Financial Counseling and Credit Rebuilding Component to Successful Job Training and Placement Program Stamford, CT (November 28, 2011) – Today, The Workplace ... Continue
New Collaboration Will Add Critical Financial Counseling and Credit Rebuilding Component to Successful Job Training and Placement Program
Stamford, CT (November 28, 2011) – Today, The Workplace and Citi Community Development announced a new collaboration to expand the successful Platform to Employment (P2E) program by providing those experiencing long-term unemployment with financial counseling and credit rebuilding assistance. P2E clients will now not only receive job readiness skills and enter a system to get matched with local career opportunities, but with guidance from the nationally recognized Housing Development Fund (HDF), they will also improve their household money management skills and begin to rebuild their credit during a time when many lack regular income and are financially overextended.
There is a critical need to restore the long-term unemployed to the labor force. The WorkPlace notes that, during the period from May 2010 through October 2011, 11,338 people in Southwest Connecticut exhausted the maximum 99 weeks of unemployment benefits. By January 2012, the total is expected to increase to 13,000. These residents face daunting challenges, with evidence showing that prospective employers are often unwilling to hire workers who have been unemployed for an extended time. That stigma is often compounded by atrophy of job skills and a collapse of confidence.
In addition, the long-term unemployed frequently grapple with the deterioration of their finances. Many prospective employers review credit reports to qualify candidates, but the long-term unemployed often have damaged credit due to the length of time they have been out of the workforce and inadequate restructuring of finances to account for drastically reduced incomes. Many lack the financial capacity to retain assets, including homes or cars needed to go to work, or to rebuild their credit scores.
The WorkPlace’s new collaboration with Citi addresses this need.
“Today’s challenging economic climate presents a need for innovative solutions to assist those most in need,” said U.S. Representative Jim Himes (CT-4). “The WorkPlace, Citi, and HDF are providing a vitally important service to Connecticut residents who are most at risk of slipping out of the financial mainstream. It is a great example of the business and nonprofit sectors working together for the greater good.”
P2E provides a customized system of job readiness training and access to potential jobs with local employers in a range of industries. Now those services will be complemented by financial recovery training and coaching for P2E participants, funded by a $100,000 grant from Citi Community Development and provided by HDF, a Stamford-based organization with extensive experience in providing free, multilingual financial counseling for at-risk families.
“Platform to Employment is the only project of its kind in the nation and it already has shown promising results in placing participants in jobs,” said Joe Carbone, President & CEO of The WorkPlace. “By adding the coaching and credit-building that Citi’s grant is enabling, we can dramatically improve participants’ likelihood of financial success and long-term stability.”
“With this program, we can enable unemployed individuals to get back on track by rebuilding their credit and, more importantly, their lives and their pride,” said Lily Lopez, Connecticut State Director for Citi Community Development. “We are very pleased to partner with The WorkPlace, which has demonstrated tremendous leadership and impact, to respond in a holistic way to the pressing national issue of long-term employment.”
Citi’s funding also includes support for study and documentation of the newly-expanded P2E program, so that its holistic approach can be scaled and replicated. The program will be evaluated by the Harvard Business School Club of Connecticut Community Partners, which will examine a number of variables to determine whether P2E is a factor in reducing payments made by government and social services agencies to support the community “safety net.” In addition, the study will follow participants for up to six months after they secure employment, to validate the impact of the program on their overall financial health, including rebuilding credit; reducing credit card rates; timely payments; and establishing and maintaining a realistic budget and a savings plan.
Currently, P2E enrolls 100 people at a time in five cohorts of 20, each of whom attend five weeks of mandatory workshops on resume writing, interview preparation, self-marketing and other skills. Participants are then matched with employers who have job openings. The program allows for a trial period by providing eight weeks of P2E-subsidized employment, with the expectation that employers will permanently hire worthy participants to their own payrolls. In the program’s first two graduating cohorts, 34% of participants were placed in jobs, and the remaining individuals all have been interviewed. The organization expects to run the program twice each year, to serve a total of 600 people over three years.
“This collaboration draws on the complementary strengths of nonprofit and private sector organizations, which is a proven formula for economic empowerment,” said Joan Carty, President & CEO of Housing Development Fund. “We are pleased to work with The WorkPlace and to deepen our partnership with Citi by participating in this important program.”
HDF is a HUD-certified financial counseling agency and is also a participant in the national demonstration project by NeighborWorks and the Citi Foundation to expand and strengthen financial capability services for low-income Americans. The organization also finances affordable housing, manages a loan fund and operates various down payment assistance programs for low- and moderate-income households.
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About The WorkPlace
About Citi Community Development
Health Career Academy Born in Bridgeport
10/14/11 Alexander Soule, Fairfield County Business Journal With nearly $10 million in federal funding, a workforce investment agency will create a southwestern Connecticut health career academy ... Continue
10/14/11 Alexander Soule, Fairfield County Business Journal
With nearly $10 million in federal funding, a workforce investment agency will create a southwestern Connecticut health career academy serving Fairfield and New Haven counties.
Bridgeport-based WorkPlace Inc. won funding from the U.S. Departments of Labor and Health and Human Services to create a regional partnership of hospitals, colleges, businesses and other stakeholders. In Hartford, Capital Workforce Partners also received nearly $5 million toward the same goal.
The grants were among nearly $160 million awarded in 20 states across a swath of industries, including health care, manufacturing, energy and information technology. The New York state Department of Labor also received $5 million to train people for careers in health care and advanced manufacturing.
More than half of the Labor Department funding nationally will be used to provide training to people who have been out of work for more than six months and nearly 45 percent of the national total will be used to provide on-the-job training, allowing participants to earn a paycheck as they learn new skills while earning a regular paycheck.
The federal government is planning a second round of grants with applications due in mid-November.
Joe Carbone, CEO of the WorkPlace, called it a rare opportunity and hopes the academy will lead to new careers for those who are in danger of seeing their federal unemployment benefits run out.
“This is a great day for our community,” Carbone said, in a statement. “The momentum fueled by these resources will energize the health care labor market and bound to attract other supportive funds in the future.”
The WorkPlace and other grantees are required to work with at least one area employer in designing or carrying out the program.
Carbone noted the health care industry is the only economic sector in southwest Connecticut to increase jobs steadily throughout the bulk of the recession and says the academy will meet a significant need for local health-care employers. That trend continued in August, according to Connecticut Department of Labor statistics, with health care and social assistance employment up by some 2,000 jobs from the month before, and more than 9,000 from August 2010.
Since mid-September, Fairfield County’s six acute-care hospitals alone have posted more than 250 open positions, some of them part-time and temporary jobs.
The federal funding is from the H-1B Technical Skills Training Grant program and focuses on preparing jobless workers for employment opportunities that often go to foreign workers via H-1B visas. The money is raised from fees paid by U.S. employers to hire those foreign workers.
The HHS Health Profession Opportunity grant targets people under the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program with skills and supports needed to obtain employment and sustain themselves and their families.Close
The WorkPlace awarded $ 9.9 million for Regional Healthcare Job Training Academy
This is a great day for our community. We were informed of two significant federal competitive wins for training opportunities in healthcare. The WorkPlace was awarded more than $4.8 million from the ... Continue
This is a great day for our community. We were informed of two significant federal competitive wins for training opportunities in healthcare. The WorkPlace was awarded more than $4.8 million from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and more than $4.9 million from the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) . Both grants will create and support the Southwestern Connecticut Health CareeRx Academy. The Academy is a regional partnership of hospitals, colleges, businesses, business groups, Labor and numerous CBO's. The HHS grant will focus on TANF recipients while the DOL grant addresses the long term unemployed. Since many of our long term unemployed particularly 99er’s, have become TANF eligible, they can be served through the HHS grant as well. The momentum fueled by these resources will energize the healthcare labor market and bound to attract other supportive funds in the future.
The healthcare industry is the only economic sector in our region that has grown jobs every month throughout and since the Recession. The Academy will meet the significant need of local healthcare employers for new employees. The combination of grants creates a synergy that will enable the Academy to set grander and higher goals . The critical mass element creates cost savings that will enable us to serve more customers and do so with a holistic approach. The DOL funding is from the H-1B Technical Skills Training Grants and focuses on preparing the unemployed for employment opportunities that often go to foreign workers via H-1B visas. The HHS Health Profession Opportunity grant serves our regional TANF customers with skills and supports needed to obtain employment and sustain themselves and their families.
The commitment of four years of funding creates a rare opportunity. Our partnership will invent, and implement innovative solutions to get people back to work. We believe the Academy will create a steady flow of workers prepared for future job opportunities and success. We are excited by the commitment of our many partners that will work with us on this project. Our most in need and the long term unemployed, especially 99er’s, have reason to be hopeful. This initiative was built with an understanding of their unique needs and challenges. They should be comforted knowing that help is on the way.
I also would like to extend my gratitude to Senator's Lieberman and Blumenthal, Congressman Rosa DeLauro and Congressman Jim Himes for their support of our proposals. Help from our elected officials is invaluable and we are fortunate to have them in DC. Major kudos to Adrienne, Tom Sobo, Gino and all our folks who worked on these grants. Another job well done. Best, Joe
Joseph M. Carbone
President & CEO
The WorkPlace, Inc. Close
An Appeal to the Business Community
The job market took another hit last week when the U.S. Department of Labor reported zero job growth in August and unemployment remained above 9 percent for the fifth straight month. We are tw ... Continue
The job market took another hit last week when the U.S. Department of Labor reported zero job growth in August and unemployment remained above 9 percent for the fifth straight month. We are two years away from the official end of the recession and still searching for a way forward to job creation and employment, especially for the long-term unemployed. According to an August report issued by the U.S. Congress Joint Economic Committee, almost 4.5 million workers have been unemployed for a year or more.
By the end of the year, we may have 4 million people across the nation who have completely exhausted their unemployment insurance benefits and remain unemployed. Without a job, these individuals will become a burden on the nation's frail safety net of services. The perception of many of these "99ers" is that they have depreciated skills, become less marketable and are unwilling to compete for jobs. It has led some employers to discriminate against considering qualified job candidates based solely on how long someone has been out of work.
Who are the 99ers? They represent all demographic groups. They are skilled trades people, credentialed workers and educated leaders. They have years of professional experience in industries as diverse as business and financial services to construction and manufacturing. They are our friends and our neighbors. They are us.
Government action alone is not enough to improve the dismal employment numbers. Social programs cannot rival the business sector when it comes to creating the jobs, wealth, and innovation that improve standards of living and social conditions over time. Strong corporate citizens are essential partners in leading the long-term unemployed back to work, especially in today's ever-changing business environment.
Socially responsible businesses proactively encourage community growth and development, and voluntarily eliminate practices that harm the public. The WorkPlace has launched Platform to Employment (P2E), giving socially responsive employers the opportunity to try out workers, at no cost and with no risk. It is a public-private partnership to prepare 99ers for jobs while creating a reliable way for businesses to hiring new workers without risk.
Through the generous contributions of individuals, foundations and corporations we raised more than $550,000 in private funds and will place 100 workers through a subsidized employment program. During the work experience, job candidates remain on the payroll of The WorkPlace. This eliminates the expenses and risks associated with hiring a new employee. P2E enables businesses to evaluate and consider job candidates while leveling the playing field to give everyone a fair chance to demonstrate they can do the job.
We invite employers, good corporate citizens, to step forward and consider hiring local workers through P2E. In late October we will host a job fair in Bridgeport to highlight many of these talented workers. You can find out more about attending this event by contacting us at 203-953-3259.
By considering hiring the long-term unemployed from the local workforce, businesses demonstrate social responsibility for the region and the community. The opportunity presented through P2E requires dramatically different thinking. This is more than a traditional social responsibility initiative that generates local goodwill. The corporate citizens that step forward are making a statement about believing in people while maintaining the highest standards of performance.
Persistent, long-term unemployment is a scourge. We urge policymakers to pay attention to this experiment, which could be the bridge to hope that so many hardworking but unemployed men and women need.
Unemployment Discrimination A Thorny Issue
Tarice Gray - About 9 percent of Connecticut's population is unemployed. Those people face a limited job market, a pool of benefits that may be drying up and, in some cases, unemployment discriminatio ... Continue
Tarice Gray - About 9 percent of Connecticut's population is unemployed. Those people face a limited job market, a pool of benefits that may be drying up and, in some cases, unemployment discrimination. There are some efforts to penalize employers who discriminate on the basis of employment status, but it's not so simple.Close
DOL Working for You
Worker Lands Employment in Green Jobs Marketplace Former electrician Ronald Patton has a new career in the emerging green jobs field, thanks to the department\'s Pathways Out of Poverty funding. Pat ... Continue
Worker Lands Employment in Green Jobs Marketplace
Former electrician Ronald Patton has a new career in the emerging green jobs field, thanks to the department\'s Pathways Out of Poverty funding. Patton, who was unemployed, enrolled in Green-Up Bridgeport, an employment program of DOL grantee WorkPlace Inc., known as Southwestern Connecticut\'s Regional Workforce Board. He eventually graduated with a multitude of certificates in various green job skills and now works for a local asbestos and lead removal business. He also has joined Connecticut Laborers\' Local 665, earning a good union wage. Patton welcomed the program\'s help because it \"was a new beginning which gave me an opportunity to stand on my own two feet again.\"Close
Put a Priority on Job Training
Rhetoric aside, the real crisis in today's economy is not about spending, it's about jobs. And the problem is getting worse, not better. Unemployment rates continue at dangerously high levels. Privat ... Continue
Rhetoric aside, the real crisis in today's economy is not about spending, it's about jobs. And the problem is getting worse, not better.
Unemployment rates continue at dangerously high levels. Private businesses are reluctant to hire, and the public sector is cutting at every level. Worse is the recently observed phenomenon of discrimination against the jobless -- many ads for open positions specifically state an applicant must have or recently had a job. This puts a huge group of long-term unemployed people at an enormous disadvantage.
It all adds up to making programs like the one described in Sunday's Connecticut Post that much more valuable. Green-Up Bridgeport, from The WorkPlace, Inc., helps train people for jobs in the environmental field. It's paid for with $4 million in federal funds as part of the larger 2009 stimulus package.
And it's having an impact, as officials say at least 100 people have found full-time employment with many more on the way.
There's always a cost-benefit analysis with this kind of spending -- is this really the best way to make use of federal dollars? But it's not just one job; it's also about the kind of training that makes future employment more likely, and training in the kinds of fields that the economy needs and from which society can benefit.
Environmental cleanup positions of the type described in Sunday's story are vital to a city like Bridgeport, with acre upon acre of contaminated, potentially useful properties littering the city. There is work that needs doing, and this kind of program gives people the training, and experience, they need to do it.
It will take much more to get the economy going, but it is vital, especially in a time of such desperate unemployment conditions, that job-training programs be prioritized and not offered up as cuts just to please the deficit-obsessed.Close
Job Training Program Proves Fruitful for Some
CTPost.com | Vinti Singh, Staff Writer NORWALK -- Not too long ago, Jennifer Carter, an unemployed graphic artist looking for job prospects, said the thought of setting foot on a construction site in ... Continue
CTPost.com | Vinti Singh, Staff Writer
NORWALK -- Not too long ago, Jennifer Carter, an unemployed graphic artist looking for job prospects, said the thought of setting foot on a construction site intimidated her. But on a recent day in July, Carter looked at ease in her yellow hard hat and tan work boots as she walked around an apartment complex in Norwalk. She was a part of a team of workers and contractors that was replacing all the windows in the complex with more energy-efficient ones.
That she was there was proof that the intensive job training classes she has been enrolled in since February are starting to pay off, literally. Carter, who was unemployed six months ago, is working full time and is making $15 an hour -- at least for the next six weeks. The position is only temporary, but Carter said she is happy to be working for now.
Carter is one of the 500 Bridgeport residents who enrolled in Green-Up Bridgeport, an employment program of WorkPlace, Inc., Southwestern Connecticut's Regional Workforce Board. Funded by a $4 million federal grant, the program trains students for emerging jobs in the green industry. The grant was part of a $150 million nationwide package from federal stimulus funds called "Pathways out of Poverty" that the Department of Labor distributed nationwide.
The grant stipulates at least 350 of the graduates must have landed a job by the end of the program. So far, 100 people have found full time employment, WorkPlace, Inc. Assistant Vice President Tom Long said.
In Green-Up, students choose a field that interests them, such as construction and building maintenance, and the program pays for all the necessary training and certifications they need to get employed. Carter and her classmate, Ronald Patton, both chose to go down the construction route. They both completed a specialized construction program and earned about 15 licenses, including an asbestos abatement license and lead removal license. They chose the winning specialization, said Richard Williams, Patton's caseworker, since graduates are landing more jobs in construction than the program's other specialties.
Patton has 20 years of experience as an electrician, but never earned any official certifications. He also spent years recovering from a cocaine addiction. Today he is totally clean, but before Green-Up, he couldn't line up any work besides odd wiring jobs. Carter, 47, could not find any work in the graphic design field, despite having recently earned a degree from the University of Bridgeport. The two turned to the training program hoping for a steady income and new career.
Patton got a job with EnviroGuard, a Seymour based asbestos and lead removal firm, and is on a team of eight people who are removing the asbestos in Wilbur Cross School in Bridgeport. He joined Connecticut Laborers' Local 665 and is earning a union wage, which is more than $20 an hour. The job at Wilbur Cross will last until October, and after that his union may pay for him to take classes in masonry and pipe fitting so that he can work on future bridge building projects.
STEADY PAYCHECK AGAIN
"My unemployed days are gone," Patton said through tears.
Patton almost missed the chance to be a part of Green-Up Bridgeport at all. He signed up the day before the deadline and a single slot was left for him. But the government handed him an opportunity, he said, and he took it.
"I'm hoping that I show that this program works and that they'll put more money into it," Patton said. "Quite a few guys in the class were just there taking up slots not putting any effort in it. And I think, why did you have to waste all that government money when there are so many folks out of work? The program works if you work it. But you've got to put your foot forward."
With the job he has now, Patton thinks he can save up and buy his own place somewhere in the greater Bridgeport area. He currently lives at Pivot Ministries, a Christian home for substance abusers.
He is still taking classes, though, to hedge his bet on which green industry will grow the quickest. His last Green-Up funded class is a waste water treatment course, which he said is difficult because it is so math intensive.
"I haven't done math like this since I graduated in 1977," he said.
Williams said Patton is one of the success stories, and attributed it to his work ethic. As a single man with no children, Patton also had the advantage of being able to dedicate all his time to his classwork. Other men, who have families and outstanding bills, cannot afford to take the time to go to class full-time, Williams said.
And there are other obstacles. Jobs in the green industry are still hard to land, as Carter is finding out.
There is a chance one of the contractors working with Carter may choose to hire her at the end of the six weeks, but it's a slim chance.
"Unfortunately at this time, we're not looking to expand our team," said the owner of Master Builders & Design, a Fairfield- based construction company that was contracted for the job. "The economy is shaky and government work is spotty at best. Nobody's really planning on doing a lot of hiring."
The owner, who asked his name not be used, said he and his wife employed 60 people at one time and renovated apartment buildings in New York City. Now he does weatherization and other small projects in Connecticut. The window replacement project in Norwalk is funded through federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds, and he said it could be months before another government job like this comes around.
Students like Carter, he said, are graduating from programs like Green-Up with book knowledge, but he would not consider hiring anyone without at least three years of field experience.
"They should be working in the field and taking classes, not the other way around," he said.
Carter said she knows no matter how well she did in the classroom, she has to prove herself out in the field. At the apartment complex, her job is to guard the construction site and keep residents away. She wants to go in the apartments and at least watch the contractors install the windows, but she has yet to be offered the opportunity.
"Without the experience, the classes are useless," Carter said.
Still, she is continuing her studies. She is enrolled in an online LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification course and studies her textbook while sitting at her guard post. She needs the LEED certification to take a computer assisted design course. Once she completes that, she may finally be able to achieve her dream, which is to use her passion for graphic design to help design energy efficient homes.
The Connecticut Post was following a third person, Sam Bonnacci, who said he no longer wishes to participate in the series.
Contact Vinti Singh at firstname.lastname@example.org or 203-330-6285. Follow Vinti at Twitter.com/Vintisingh.Close