The American Jobs Act Includes Provisions That Aid Low-Skill, Low-Income Workers

Sep 09, 2011

For more than two years, the nation has struggled with the worst job market in a generation. Workers across the economic spectrum have been affected by job loss, but low-skill workers, youth and people of color have been hardest hit. The immediate effects are apparent as more people have fallen into poverty, and more people have had to rely on social programs to make ends meet, put food on the table, access medical care and keep a roof over their heads. These facts alone demand bold solutions.  But we also must act because unemployment also has lasting impacts that threaten the long-term economic well-being of families, communities and the nation.

The American Jobs Act that President Obama announced last week is a significant step forward in the right direction. It recognizes that we need broad programs to promote hiring by investing in infrastructure and stimulating consumer spending as well as programs targeted toward the most vulnerable workers.  The proposal includes provisions that invest in youth and low-income adults; fund summer and year-round jobs for youth; provide subsidized job opportunities for low-income people who are unemployed; support on-the-job training for unemployed people as well as training and skills building for job sectors actively hiring. The proposal also includes a grants program to support local initiatives that provide training, adult education and other strategies that lead to postsecondary credentials and employment. Read CLASP's full statement >>

Read CLASP's full analysis, American Jobs Act: New Work and Learning Opportunities for Low-Income, Unemployed Adults and Youth >>

CLASP has analyzed how provisions in the American Jobs Act will help low-skill, low-income workers: 

September 9, 2011  |  BY Elizabeth Lower-basch
Provision in Jobs Proposal Akin to Successful TANF EF Subsidized Jobs Program
President Obama's American Jobs Act would create a $5 billion Pathways Back to Work Fund, a program patterned on the successful TANF Emergency Fund that subsidized jobs for disadvantaged parents and youth. The Emergency Fund created 260,000 jobs in 39 states between 2009 and 2010. The experience was so successful for disadvantaged workers and employers that a number of states and localities continued their programs or started new ones on a smaller scale even though federal funding for the program ended almost a year ago.
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SEPTEMBER 9, 2011  |  BY NEIL RIDLEY
The President's Jobs Package Will Help Jobless and Stave Off Even Higher Unemployment
President Obama's  American Jobs Act includes provisions to extend or expand two critical programs - unemployment insurance and work sharing - that support workers struggling in a weak economy characterized by sluggish job growth and high unemployment.  The two measures provide relief for jobless workers and help to prevent unemployment from creeping even higher.

September 9, 2011  |  By kISHA BIRD
American Jobs Act Addresses Youth Unemployment at Crucial Time
The President's jobs plan includes proposals for youth employment at a crucial time for America's young people. Youth and young adults under age 25 represent about one-third of the unemployed. Over 3.6 million youth in this age group are unemployed and this summer was the worst on record for teen employment since World War II. The situation is especially bleak for youth of color, who face much higher unemployment rates than their white counterparts; a mere 18.5 percent of Latinos and 14 percent of blacks were employed last month, compared to 32.4 percent of whites. By proposing a new Pathways Back to Work Fund, the American Jobs Act would provide thousands of summer and year-round jobs to low-income youth.
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SEPTEMBER 9, 2011  |  BY marcie foster
Obama Jobs Plan Supports Promising Models to Help Low-Skilled Adults Earn Postsecondary Credentials
While all workers across the country have experienced near-record levels of unemployment, low-income, low-skilled workers have been hit the hardest. Education remains one of the most significant factors in getting a good job and advancing in the workforce. For workers without a high school diploma, the unemployment rate is 14.3 percent. For their higher-educated peers with a bachelor's degree or more, unemployment is only 4.3 percent. To address this disparity, President Obama's American Jobs Act establishes a $5 billion Pathways Back to Work Fund, which includes support for "integrated education and training"- a promising instructional model that many states and local areas are already using to help adult education students earn meaningful postsecondary credentials.

September 15, 2011  |  By Hannah Matthews
Early Learning in the American Jobs Act
At the center of the President's proposal is an effort to invest in education by supporting educators' employment, including re-hiring of teachers who have been laid off due to state budget cuts. Once again, the Administration has demonstrated their commitment to supporting a "cradle to career" education system, beginning at birth, by allowing states to use funding for compensation and benefits to retain or rehire early childhood educators in state-funded early childhood programs serving children from birth to kindergarten entry. Local education agency funds may also be used for the modernization, renovation, or repair of facilities used for early childhood programs.
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