For Immediate Release: September 09, 2011

CLASP Statement on the President's American Jobs Act

Following is a statement by Alan W. Houseman, executive director of CLASP, the Center for Law and Social Policy, regarding the $447 billion American Jobs Act announced by President Barack Obama Thursday.

"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 night 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.

"These provisions are critical for the long-term health of families, communities and the nation. Workers fuel our economy. The economic recovery has remained weak in part because too many people are out of work or involuntarily working part-time because that's all they can find.

"President Obama called on lawmakers to stop the political circus and ‘pass this jobs bill.' We agree that jobs have been on the political backburner for far too long. The nation's workers deserve swift action."

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