A job training program that might actually work

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.

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3 responses to “A job training program that might actually work

  1. AmyT

    “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.”

    So, 40% of participants spend time they could’ve spent looking for a viable job working for free, only to end up in precisely the same position.

    • But AmyT, isn’t that better than 100%?. Again, it’s not a cure-all, but it’s a far better track record than other programs. Besides, while it’s cruel to say this, some folks are just unemployable. You have to show up on time, sober, and work hard while being trained. I’m not all that surprised that 40% don’t find work, even after being trained in a new skill.

  2. Inagua

    The only government jobs program that ever worked was the 1940 Draft. It eventually got 16 million people jobs, albeit at low pay. The only other condition that produces lots of jobs is a vibrant, growing economy, which is impossible under Bush/Obama economic policies.