Bill Would Allow Jobless to Draw Benefits While Training

House Democratic Leader Craig Fitzhugh outlines legislation to help the unemployed get a job in a blog post. Excerpt:
In the House of Representatives, I have introduced the Tennessee Works Act of 2012. This program, which I modeled after a Republican proposal in Georgia, will allow the state of Tennessee to use unemployment insurance to get people back in the workplace sooner. The idea is simple. The largest cause of unemployment in our area is traditional manufacturing jobs heading to Mexico or China. This leaves behind hundreds of unemployed workers who need to retrain for jobs in a new field. Currently, we have some programs in community colleges and tech centers, but for some we need a more hands-on solution. That’s where the Tennessee Works Act comes into play.
This bill would allow laid-off workers collecting unemployment to be placed with an employer for a period of 8-12 weeks. During this time, the employer would be expected to train the laid-off worker with some sort of new skill required for that job. While this training was on-going, the worker would continue to receive unemployment benefits instead of being paid by the employer. At the end of the 8-12 week period, the employer has the opportunity to hire this new worker full-time without having had to pay for their training. This has a two fold benefit. One, it allows employers to train highly skilled workers at no cost to their company. Two, it allows the laid-off worker to obtain a new skill and a new job, rolling them off the unemployment rolls in a very short time span.

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