Last Friday, U.S. Congressman Robert J. Dold (IL-10) unveiled a novel and locally-originated initiative to help solve the critical problem of long-term unemployment at Dynomax, Inc. in Lincolnshire. This legislation is aimed at supporting the efforts of the more than 4.8 million Americans who have been jobless for 27 weeks or more -- over 40% of all unemployed persons in the United States -- as they seek employment.
Congressman Dold's proposal would make certificates available to long-term unemployed job-seekers, which they could present to potential employers. This is an effort to incentivize employers to hire the long-term unemployed worker, who faces significant challenges to re-entering the job market. The employer could redeem the certificate for $7,000 after employing the worker for 6 or more months, and the expectation is that funding for these pilot projects would come from existing job training programs that fail to meet reporting requirements. Congressman Dold offered H.R. 6568, titled the "Back to Work Blueprint Act," which will direct the Department of Labor to study the feasibility of his proposal, and provide a blueprint for future action on the plan in Congress.
"The existing federal government programs to provide employment and training solutions are well-intentioned, but with unemployment remaining unacceptably high we must constantly look for new and innovative ways to help get the long-term unemployed back to work," said Dold. "My approach would create an incentive for employers to hire and retain long-term unemployed workers, while giving these job seekers a powerful tool in this difficult job market."
At the event in Lincolnshire, Congressman Dold gathered a group of local businesspeople, human resource executives and job seekers to solicit their input about his proposal.