Innovative government programs to spur employment are popping up everywhere. Previously, we've written about job-sharing, which 17 states have implemented. Here in Illinois, Gov. Pat Quinn just rolled out the stimulus-funded Put Illinois To Work program, which his office hopes will create 15,000 new jobs for low-income folks. And down in Georgia, state officials are experimenting with a program to provide job training to those receiving unemployment benefits. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution explains:
The idea is simple: Pair people collecting unemployment with a company at no cost to the employer. The worker continues to get an unemployment check plus a small stipend, as well as job training that, it’s hoped, will lead to full-time employment at the company or elsewhere. Since it began seven years ago, nearly 8,000 people have completed the program, with about half finding full-time work afterward.
State officials say the so-called "Georgia Works" program gets folks off the unemployment rolls faster. Texas runs a similar program while four other states are considering their own versions. But the idea is not without its critics. Andrew Stettner, a deputy policy director for the National Employment Law Project, thinks the voluntary program violates federal labor laws. "It looks more like work than training,” he tells the Journal-Constitution. "You can’t try someone out and not pay them."
So what do you all think? Is this program exploitative? Should Illinois consider it? Let us know in the comments below.