Business Courier by Lucy May, Senior Staff Reporter
Date: Tuesday, November 27, 2012, 11:56am EST – Last Modified: Tuesday, November 27, 2012, 12:43pm EST
Cincinnati and Hamilton County have been selected to replicate a successful program to put the long-term unemployed back to work.
The program, called Platform to Employment, or P2E, was started in southwest Connecticut in 2011 by an organization called the WorkPlace. It combines job readiness training, personal and family support services and financial counseling. The program in Connecticut placed 70 percent of its participants in jobs, with 90 percent moving to full-time employment.
The Cincinnati-Hamilton County community is one of four places across the country where the program will be expanded in the first quarter of 2013. The other cities are Chicago, Dallas and San Diego. Six more communities will be added to the rollout eventually. The program is being underwritten by grants from the AARP Foundation, Citi Community Development and the Walmart Foundation, which helped to select the cities for the program, along with Joe Carbone, CEO of WorkPlace.
The program also will address the needs of unemployed veterans and workers who are older than 50 – many of whom have seen their retirement savings wiped out by unexpected, long-term unemployment.
“We’re facing a different kind of economy in Cincinnati and the country right now, and things are not going to bounce back just because we all want it to,” said Sherry Kelley Marshall, president and CEO of the Southwest Ohio Region Workforce Investment Board, which is partnering with The WorkPlace, its counterpart in southwest Connecticut, to roll out P2E here.
In Greater Cincinnati, the October unemployment rate improved to 6.3 percent from 6.4 percent in September.
But Kelley Marshall noted that 18,000 people will lose unemployment benefits by Christmas in Hamilton County alone.
“At some point in time, we’re going to need to face that reality as a community,” she said.
The program will help 24 people here initially, she said. After those people complete the training, they will be matched with jobs. And the WorkPlace will subsidize their wages for eight weeks, giving employers risk-free time to evaluate the job candidates and figure out if they could be good, permanent hires.