More than two years after Gov. Jennifer Granholm launched what may be
the most ambitious job retraining program in Michigan history, 16,164
workers have found new jobs but nearly twice that many either dropped
out or are still unable to find work.
The more-than-$500 million
No Worker Left Behind program may be well-intentioned and well-designed,
but with Michigan leading the nation in unemployment for most of the
past four years, success has been limited.
Last month, President Barack Obama signed the $17.5 billion Hiring
Incentives to Restore Employment (HIRE) Act into law to assist small
businesses and spur job creation. This was definitely a start, but the
gravity of the current crisis demands much bolder and quicker action.
Congress needs to enact further state fiscal relief to support jobs and
avoid the massive layoffs that threaten social and economic vitality in
As this Dispatch will highlight, the first step is to fund jobs
that support long-term economic competitiveness, notably by investing
in people and physical infrastructure. While the economic climate for
profit-making business opportunities is more limited, investments in
education, health care, transit and energy efficiency can create
immediate jobs while strengthening building blocks for long-term
With the passage of HB 1701 the Washington State legislature once again demonstrated its understandingthat when combating the digital divide states must not just addressaccess issues, but must also focus on dealing with the barriers to broadband adoption by individuals.
As the country enters into a recession and suffers increasing job
losses, the Great Lakes Region is facing a particularly acute crisis.
Literally millions of decent-paying manufacturing jobs have disappeared
from the region in recent years. How regional political leaders are
responding to that crisis provides lessons for state policymakers
across the country.
Oakland's City Council
approved allocating $250,000 as seed money to create the nation's
first Green Jobs Corps. Oakland's Green Jobs Corp
provide complete job training for residents that
have had barriers to employment. The job training includes case
managements skills and vocational training in areas such as bio-fuels
manufacturing and solar panel installation. Participants in the program finish
with paid internships in renewable energy and energy efficiency
With nearly 650,000 people released from state and federal prison every
year, programs need to be available to support reentry into
society. Faced with a shortage of members, the building-trades unions of
recruiting for apprenticeship programs in communities of color where many
young men have criminal pasts.