You Got the Job! Now, Here’s the Audition

September 24, 2011  |  

(New York Times) — Desperate to find a way to get the nation’s long-term unemployed back to work, President Obama and Republican leaders are supporting the expansion of a novel jobs program in Georgia to any other state that wants it.  Whether the program can be replicated on a scale big enough to make a dent in the unemployment rate, though, is far from clear.  Since the recession began, the Georgia program has been held up as a national example, and a close look shows that it has pleased employers and produced steady paychecks for workers. But economists say there is little evidence that participants find work faster. And a lack of promotion, limited oversight and budget constraints have limited the program, Georgia Works, to a tiny portion of the state’s nearly half a million unemployed workers. Only about 120 people have been hired because of it this year.  That such a blip of success has been hailed as a central plank of the president’s jobs plan, and one of the few with consistent bipartisan support, shows just how few viable solutions have emerged for perhaps the nation’s most intractable problem — how to get 14 million unemployed people working again.

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