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Retraining the long-term unemployed

Friday, August 03, 2012 - 02:28

Aug 3 - A private-public partnership in Connecticut, geared towards getting the long-term unemployed back to work, is sparking interest in job hunters, and hiring managers with a success rate of 71 percent. Jill Bennett reports,

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PLEASE NOTE: THIS EDIT CONTAINS CONVERTED 4:3 MATERIAL It can be a long road back from unemployment. Gwen Harris is finally back at work ...two years after losing her job in Corporate America. SOUNDBITE: GWEN HARRIS, IN-TRAINING, CAREER RESOURCES (ENGLISH) SAYING: "I can go to sleep at night, and I'm not out on the Internet constantly job searching, so it's just a comforting feeling." Harris works as a Greeter and Receptionist at Career Resources in Stamford, Connecticut. She is a recent graduate of Platform to Employment, a five-week training program for the long-term unemployed in Connecticut. Her first six weeks of wages, while she is training, is covered by the program through private funding. That incentive offers a big break to cash-strapped companies looking to hire. Debra Keel is the VP of Operations at Career Resources: SOUNDBITE: DEBRA KEEL, VP OF OPERATIONS, CAREER RESOURCES (ENGLISH) SAYING: "Without the incentive the funding did not exist right now to actually create that position. Because of the incentive, because of those six weeks, six weeks gives us the opportunity to start the person now and secure the other funding." The Platform to Employment program, created by The WorkPlace, a regional workforce development board, comes at a critical time, when the number of the long-term unemployed, those out of work for 27 weeks or longer, stands at 5.2 million - accounting for 40 percent of the workforce. The jobs picture is looking better, 163,000 jobs were added in July but the jobless rate moved up slightly to 8.3 percent - highlighting a problem of the unemployed. This program tries to help by offering financial advice, resume writing, social media skills and interviewing skills. But the bottom line may come down to wages. John Lonski, Chief Economist, Moody's Capital Markets Group: SOUNDBITE: JOHN LONSKI, CHIEF ECONOMIST, MOODY'S CAPITAL MARKETS GROUP (ENGLISH) SAYING: "An employer is all the more likely to train an individual for a new job if the employer over the near term is compensated by being able to offer this employee in training, this apprentice a lower wage than otherwise." Gwen Harris is making far less than she used to - but she was eager to leave the corporate world behind and focus on the non-profits...a good fit with her current role. SOUNDBITE: GWEN HARRIS, IN-TRAINING, CAREER RESOURCES (ENGLISH) SAYING: "I think the sky is the limit at this point." Platform to Employment hopes to roll out across the country - it is already in talks with ten other markets. Jill Bennett, Reuters

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Retraining the long-term unemployed

Friday, August 03, 2012 - 02:28