Feds Eye Ga. Jobs Program
(AJC) — Georgia may have one of the nation’s highest jobless rates, but a state program aimed at getting the unemployed back to work is being touted as the basis for a federal jobs program President Barack Obama will unveil next month. The White House is studying Georgia Works, created in 2003 and hailed since as a promising approach, according to a report this week in The Wall Street Journal. The White House declined Tuesday to comment what the president will propose. Georgia Works, which the state expanded last year and then curtailed for budgetary reasons, places unemployed workers in jobs for a six-week trial stint. Employers pay nothing and workers continue to receive unemployment benefits as well as a small state stipend for travel expenses and childcare. Since its launch, 24.2 percent of the 32,266 unemployed Georgians who participated in the program were retained by the companies they were paired with, according to Sam Hall, a spokesman for the state labor department. More than 16,500 employers have participated.