Putting Americans Back to Work with the American Jobs Act
10:00 PM EDT
Every day, President Obama reads ten letters from the public in order to stay in tune with America's issues and concerns. One recent one came from Alice Johnson of Oregon who, along with her husband, has been looking for a job for about two years. Last week, President Obama described Johnson's letter in his Weekly Address:
She writes, “I have faithfully applied for work every week…Of the hundreds of applications I have put in, I received interview requests for about 10…I too, am sick of all the fighting in Washington DC. Please tell the Republicans that people are hurting and are hungry and need help, pass the jobs bill.” Alice Johnson needs our help.
After working hard her whole life and playing by the rules, Johnson is one of the millions of Americans who have been affected by the recession through no fault of their own. "I'm an honest, loyal, dependable person who has always worked," Johnson said. She knows there are many others going through the same experience.
The American Jobs Act will help create job opportunities for people like Johnson by providing a $4,000 tax credit to employers for hiring long-term unemployed workers. The Jobs Act will also prohibit employers from discriminating against unemployed workers when hiring.
Johnson has been taking classes at her local community college to keep her skills up and hasn't given up hope, but it is time to pass the American Jobs Act so those who want to work can find a job. The bill will also extend unemployment insurance to prevent 5 million Americans looking for work from losing their benefits. The President’s plan includes innovative work-based reforms to prevent layoffs and give states greater flexibility to use UI funds to best support job-seekers and connect them to work, including:
- Work Sharing: UI for workers whose employers choose work-sharing over layoffs
- Improved reemployment services for the long-term unemployed through counseling, and eligibility assessments.
- A new “Bridge to Work” program: The plan builds on and improves innovative state programs where those displaced take temporary, voluntary work or pursue on-the-job training.
- Innovative entrepreneurship and wage insurance programs: States will also be empowered to implement wage insurance to help reemploy older workers and create programs that make it easier for unemployed workers to start their own businesses.
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