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.”