And Obama is considering it. The typical job training program stuffs a number of poor souls in a large room and teaches them nothing. The results are dismal and have been for decades – a complete wast of money.
Down in Georgia some years ago they tried something different: unemployment benefits would continue while people worked for free at any business that would have them. At the end of two months, the companies can hire them or send them back, no obligation, no costs incurred. Results: 20% are hired directly, another 40% find work with other firms. Not perfect, but a great success rate nonetheless.
My father found work on Wall Street during the Depression by offering to work for free for a firm for a month. By the end of his first week, he was hired. These days, minimum wage laws and other regulations prevent that but by Georgia labelling the workers “trainees”, they found a way around the regulations.
And Obama seems to endorse the Georgia approach. It’s not a cure-all, but it sounds like a smarter way to address unemployment than most other ideas I’ve heard, so good for Obama. It will cost money, but so does sustained unemployment, and I hope we try it. As an aside, this is why we should let all our states serve as laboratories for problem solving. Some ideas will fail, some will succeed and can adopted nationwide. More efficient than a one size fits all experiment imposed fom Washington.