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President's job training program has model

U.S. President Barack Obama addresses a Joint Session of Congress on September 8, 2011 on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., where he unveiled his jobs plan.

Jeremy Hobson: Part of the job creation plan President Obama is sending to Congress today is based on an innovative training program started eight years ago in Georgia.

It's called the "Georgia Works" program as Marketplace's John Dimsdale reports.


John Dimsdale: The Georgia Works program pays the unemployed a small stipend to train with potential employers.

Former Georgia Labor Commissioner Michael Thurmond started the program. He says most participants were able to land a job within three months.

Michael Thurmond: It's obviously been proven to be an incentive for employers to go ahead and make the hiring decisions.

But the program has only had a miniscule impact on Georgia's 10.1 percent unemployment rate. When the program proved too costly, stipends were lowered and training periods were shortened from eight to six weeks. Fewer people signed up. But Thurmond says there are other benefits.

Thurmond: About $17 million we project have been saved by employers who were able to train potential employees without making investments in salary and taxes and so forth.

The federal program would include minimum wage guarantees, making it even more costly to run, and provoking Republican opposition in Congress.

In Washington, I'm John Dimsdale for Marketplace.

About the author

As head of Marketplace’s Washington, D.C. bureau, John Dimsdale provides insightful commentary on the intersection of government and money for the entire Marketplace portfolio.

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