The US Dept of Labor is currently working with us (state workforce agencies) to implement a new initiative aimed at reconnecting the long-term unemployed with the workforce system and hopefully quickly, the workforce. A part of the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012 – Section 2142, this initiative will provide folks getting extended unemployment benefits some one-on-one time with a workforce professional, a re-orientation to the programs and services offered by the Texas Workforce System (TWS), an evaluation and advisement about possible career transition and training opportunities, and assistance with job search tools and techniques including WorkInTexas.com.
Some of the types of job seekers we expect to see are folks who have been unemployed so long they’re beyond frustrated with finding a job and have essentially given up; folks whose job skills have become somewhat dulled due to lack of use; and folks who came from and are still looking for work in career fields that are either losing or have lost relevance in today’s work place (VCR repair as an example).
Unfortunately none of these come as much of a surprise, but I was interested to recently read about the disproportion in unemployment between younger (49 and lower) and older (50 and over) workers, particularly those considered “long-term unemployed”, those out of work at least six months, with even 40% of those out of work for more than a year. If you’re interested, this study, done by the National Employment Law Project, can be found here.
So how does all this connect? Well, the two main things the study above identified as most glaring needs for older workers were 1) addressing their special training needs, and 2) targeted reemployment strategies. And, these are also two of the main things this new Re-Employment Assessment program will provide to long-term unemployed individuals. And because many of those are older workers, this program could be a great thing for folks who right now need a great thing.
TWC and TWS will begin outreach for this new program in mid-April.