A solution to Colorado’s long term unemployment

Remember those ’23 million unemployed and under-employed’ Americans that candidates across the aisle campaigned on for months on end?  Now that the election is over, it seems everyone has forgotten about them; there’s hardly a word about the unemployed anymore.

Workplace, Inc, a CT non profit runs a program called Platform 2 Employment (P2E).

P2E is an 8-week internship program that’s designed specifically to help 99ers (people who have exhausted all ’99 weeks’ of UI benefits) re-enter the workforce.

Like thousands of others across the state, I was laid off from my job as an operations analyst in July, 2008 and, for the most part, have been unemployed or significantly under-employed ever since.  P2E has been highly successful in helping 99ers re-enter the workforce (most of whom, like myself, are in their 40s & 50s).

The P2E program has been featured on 60 Minutes, not once, but twice – and touts a huge level of success:  it has placed more than 70% of program participants into work experience programs, with nearly 90% of these individuals moving on to full-time employment.

The program is a public/private partnership in which companies who are looking to hire can participate.  The wages earned by the employee (intern) during the 8-week internship are subsidize by P2E – as long as the company commits to hiring the individual into a permanent role following the 8-week internship,  assuming there are no problems and it is a ‘good fit’ between the employee and the employer.

The program just received grant money from the AARP Foundation, the Walmart Foundation and Citi Community Development to expand the program in 10 cities across the country.  This grant money is targeted specifically at long term unemployed veterans and ‘older’ job seekers aged 50 and older.

The folks at P2E are working hard to expand the program to all long term unemployed, including those under age 50 – but need help raising awareness about the program, and, obviously, finding additional funding sources which are needed in order for the program to be expanded so that more people can participate.  They are hoping to be up and running here in Colorado in late spring.

This is a win-win for all parties:  job seekers and employers who are looking (and willing to commit) to hire a qualified, proven, and long term unemployed candidate.

It seems to me that this is a program  a public/private partnership, that lawmakers, policy wonks and advocates from both sides of the aisle can and should support.  There’s no better economic boost than to help move the educated, highly experienced and motivated folks out of the unemployment, government assistance lines and the uninsured emergency room and other health care lines – and into the tax-paying employment lines.

Maybe it’s possible that some funding could come from the Colorado Department of Labor & Employment – or from the general revenue fund?

P2E offers a solution that all interested parties can benefit from; a solution that all political parties can and should support.  Here’s a chance for lawmaker’s from both sides of the spectrum to take a step toward solving this crisis (it is a crisis).  

It’s also an opportunity for those same candidates who campaigned on the ’23 million’ jobless Americans to actually do something to help fix the problem.  That is what they all campaigned on, right?

Unemployment may be something people are tired of hearing about; maybe it’s time to do something about it.  

3 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. DavidThi808DavidThi808 says:

    What kind of training does the internship program provide? What kind of jobs does it provide training in?

    There is definitely a gigantic need to help the 99ers. (And usually that means training in a new field, but one that makes use of what they know as starting from scratch takes a lot longer.)

  2. The P2E program doesn’t provide new skills training; the funding they’ve received (from the private sector only) is used specifically to subsidize the wages earned by job applicants who participate in the program (and 8-week internship).  Having said that, I’m sure that there are discussions between/among program participants about potential needs for additional skills.  

    From the brochure:

    “A core element of this solution is a support system focusing on lasting performance improvements for P2E participants. P2E incorporates a proven curriculum of self-assessment, change

    management, effective communication and successful job search strategies. Multi-media tools reinforce instructor led programs and cohort learning. Progress is tracked and recorded through a series

    of credentials earned at different stages of professional development.

    The program will help 99ers take action and fully realize their personal and professional potential. They will develop new strategies for solving problems and create a positive change in themselves.”

    It really gives 99ers – many (if not all) of whom are college educated and highly experienced professionals who simply need a chance.  This program – through collaboration with companies willing to participate – gives them that chance.


  3. Joe Carbone, who runs Workplace, Inc’s ‘Platform 2 Employment’ program couldn’t have summed it up any better:

    From a recent article about P2E –

    “The long-term unemployed face disadvantages when trying land jobs, particularly older workers who were laid off after long periods of time with one company, said Joseph Carbone, president and chief executive officer of the WorkPlace.

    “They are not a target group to be considered for employment,” said Carbone. “With this large pool of unemployment there’s no reason (employers) would go this deep into the unemployment ranks to fill a position.”

    Human resources experts have said the issues with hiring unemployed older workers include the concern that the person won’t be happy working for a lower salary, that they lack modern skills and at least one recruiter said that some firms see those who lost jobs in layoffs as second-rate workers.

    Carbone said his program is meant to provide proof to employers that these are good workers, many of whom had never lost a job before the recession. He said it’s also meant to provide some hope to those who have been slammed with rejection after rejection as they sought new jobs…”


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