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What We Hope to See in the President’s Speech on Jobs

Posted by Elyssa Koidin  

12:47 PM Sep 08, 2011

Later tonight, President Obama will deliver his much anticipated jobs speech before a joint session of Congress. The President is rumored to recommend a $400 billion investment in infrastructure, support to the unemployed, and tax cuts to spur hiring.

The JCPA has long believed that the best way we can lower our deficit and deal with our country’s economic and budget woes is to foster significant and sustainable gains in employment. We hope to see the following points in the President’s speech tonight. These items will display a true commitment to job creation:

1. Investment in Job Training- Whether it’s through the WIA’s (Workforce Investment Act) One-Stops, universities and community colleges, or on-the-job training and mentorships, it has become clear that the American workforce needs to receive specializing training in order to become more productive, competitive, and create sustainable careers. Education in growth fields for young workers should receive particular attention in order to make sure the next generation of workers is ready to enter the labor force.

 2. Empower Communities Most in Need- States and municipalities have been affected particularly harshly due to the dual reduction in federal and state funding for human needs programs. Funding needs to be directed to local communities so they can best determine the areas most in need. Representative George Miller’s (CA-D) Local Jobs for America Act and Representative Jan Schakowsky’s (IL-D) Emergency Jobs to Restore the American Dream Act both propose the creation of millions of jobs by providing funding to renovate schools, repair roads and bridges, make homes more energy efficient, and create more jobs in the education, public safety, healthcare, and non-profit fields. These two bills offer innovative ideas to help  strengthen local communities and put more citizens back to work.

3. Target Funding to Those Most in Need- Certain geographic regions in the U.S. have been negatively affected to a stronger degree by the recession. Areas such as the Gulf Coast, Detroit, the Textile Belt, and the Central Valley in California are in desperate need of resources. Programs should target the long-term unemployed in these areas. In addition, vulnerable populations like low-income workers, African Americans, Hispanics, the disabled, and single mothers have been disproportionately impacted by the recession. Special efforts should be made to target job creation and training programs to these populations.

4. Assisting the Long-Term Unemployed- In August, 6 million Americans remained long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more). This accounts for 42.9% of the unemployed population. It is deeply troubling that some states have begun cutting the number of weeks they provide unemployment benefits to workers who lost their jobs through no fault of their own. Every effort should be made to strongly support continued funding for federal unemployment benefits. Supporting those who are jobless is not only the right thing to do; it is economically sound policy as well. For every dollar spend on jobless benefits, more than $1.60 in expanded economic activity is generated.

The JCPA is expecting strong, bold proposals from the President later tonight. The unemployment rate in August remained at 9.1% and stunningly no new jobs were created in the past month. Now is the time for the President and Congress to come together in order to create public policy that prioritizes meaningful job creation. It is our strongest hope for a revived economy and a reduced deficit.

The JCPA will be releasing a statement after the President’s speech, which can be found on our website.

If you have any questions regarding this issue please contact Elyssa Koidin.

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