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Martin Luther King Jr. is jostled in Memphis as the march he's leading on March 28, 1968 turns violent. Photo courtesy University of Memphis Libraries.

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in collaboration with Spotlight on Poverty and Opportunity

Subsidize transitional employment wages

File under: income, jobs

0 (0 votes)

From: Robert P., Roxbury, CT

We have seen people both unemployed, and getting unemployment checks for 99 weeks. Two years of unemployment does no one any good. I was out of work for seven months, and it got harder and harder to respond to the "What have you been doing?" question in interviews.

How about offering directly subsidized wages to employers for hiring workers? The idea is to reduce the risk to hire for the employer, and to allow the employee to prove his or her value in a new job. We taxpayers would subsidize up to 30 percent of pay for the first 13 weeks, 20 percent for 13 more weeks, and 10 percent for up to 26 additional weeks.

There would need to be safeguards, of course: limits on the number of employees covered per employer to prevent employers from gaming the system, some way to protect the employee from continuous turnover, etc. The point is, instead of being cursed with "unemployment," the worker has the opportunity to gain new skills while bringing home a paycheck.

Sadly, I don't know how to finance such a program. I'd like to think funds could be shifted from current unemployment programs to transitional employment programs. And I think it'd a good idea to have workers pay back at least some of the transitional employment wages through a small wage garnishment after being employed for a year.

The benefits are big enough for all concerned that I think it's worth a shot.


Comments:

American RadioWorks |
Martin Luther King Jr. is jostled in Memphis as the march he's leading on March 28, 1968 turns violent. Photo courtesy University of Memphis Libraries.

Featured Documentary: King's Last March

Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated on April 4, 1968. More than four decades later, King remains one of the most vivid symbols of hope for racial unity in America. But that’s not the way he was viewed in the last year of his life.

Recent Posts

  • 02.04.16

    When School Vouchers Are Not a Leg Up

    School voucher programs are controversial because they allow students to use public funds to pay for private school. A new paper is one of the first to show a school voucher program actually lowering student test scores.
  • 01.28.16

    Learning Financial Literacy

    Most teenagers are not learning about personal finance in school, according to an annual survey on financial literacy. Our guest this week says that needs to change.
  • 01.21.16

    Questioning Inequalities in Higher Ed

    College was once considered the path of upward mobility in this country, and for many people, it still is. But research shows that the higher education system can actually work against poor and minority students, because they often end up at colleges with few resources and low graduation rates.
  • 01.15.16

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