8:11 am April 26, 2010, by Henry Unger
With many states running out of unemployment funds and desperate for ideas, the Georgia Works program is gaining national attention, reports AJC writer Tammy Joyner.
The idea is simple: Pair people collecting unemployment benefits with a company at no cost to the employer. The worker continues to get an unemployment check plus a small stipend, as well as job training. It’s hoped that will lead to full-time employment at the company or elsewhere.
Since it began seven years ago, nearly 8,000 people have completed the program, with about half finding full-time work afterward.
The program pays up to $330 in unemployment a week for six weeks of training, plus a weekly stipend of about $100 to help with gas, transportation and other incidentals.
But, Joyner reports, some criticism has emerged.
Some unemployed workers view the training program as little more than “slave labor”: It has them working for slightly more than their unemployment pay. They’re disillusioned to find that full-time work after training isn’t guaranteed, Joyner writes.
Some policy analysts, meanwhile, question whether it might circumvent federal labor laws. And some small business owners said they’d had trouble getting and keeping trainees through Georgia Works.
Have you had any experience with the program? What happened?
If you haven’t had direct experience, what’s your opinion — good idea or not?
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