The state jobs program, Georgia Works, was mentioned today in POLITICO’s Morning Money daily email.
HOW HAS ‘GEORGIA WORKS’ WORKED? – White House officials have floated launching nationwide a job-training program from the Peach State. Georgia Works enables the unemployed to draw benefits while getting trained by a potential employer. Zack Abrahamson dug into the numbers for M.M. His findings reveal the extent of the desperation among the jobless for getting back into the workforce.
So far this year, 1,400 people have participated in the program. Employers hired just 197 of them. That translates into a 14% hiring rate, meaning it’s harder for participants to land a job than high school seniors to get accepted at Cornell, Georgetown or the University of Chicago. Since the program launched in 2003, 17.3% landed jobs.
Participation in the program has largely collapsed this year because of financial issues. Enrollment had ballooned in fall 2010 after Georgia relaxed eligibility requirements and doubled a weekly stipend. Monthly program costs quintupled over three months, hitting $2.2 million in December. The state had projected $4 million in stipend expenditures for the entire fiscal year – which ran from July 2010 to this past June.
So Georgia cut back the stipend and restricted access to those collecting unemployment benefits. The state stopped marketing the program “as much as had been done in the past,” said Sam Hall, the state labor department’s communications director. “We didn’t push it.” Hall also said the pool of eligible participants may have declined as jobseekers exhausted unemployment benefits.
Is the White House seriously considering this as a shell for a national model?