News

    Unemployed Test Work in New Job Fields

    New Hampshire program allows workers to continue receiving jobless benefits during training

    About 5.2 million Americans have been out of work for more than six months, according to the US Department of Labor.
    About 5.2 million Americans have been out of work for more than six months, according to the US Department of Labor.
    Faiza Elmasry

    More than 12 million Americans are out of work, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

    Looking for a job similar to the one that was lost can be a frustrating and futile exercise, but an employment program in the northeastern state of New Hampshire gives the unemployed a chance to try out jobs they hadn’t considered before.

    Carol Nyber lost her job at an electronics manufacturing company last year. Unfortunately, it wasn’t a new experience; she's been laid off several times over the past 20 years.

    “I keep jumping back and forth. It’s a horrible thing to go through," she says. "You’re worried about your bills. Are you going to be able to pay your rent, or your mortgage if you own a house?”

    While looking for a new job, Nyber came across the Return to Work initiative, a program run by New Hampshire’s Department of Employment Security.

    “It allowed people to find a training opportunity with an employer,” says Keith Badger, the program’s coordinator. “They could train up to 24 hours a week with a particular employer for up to six weeks.”

    Return to Work sets up a ‘win-win’ situation, according to Badger. Workers continue to receive unemployment benefits during the training period while prospective employers have a chance to evaluate potential employees - on the job - at no cost.

    “The individual is not under any obligation to the employer. The employer is not under any obligation to the individual, outside of the actual training," he says. "So the employer doesn’t guarantee the individual a job at the end of the training period, and if the individual, in the middle of the training, decides that this is just not working for them, they can leave the training.”

    Carol Nyber doesn’t plan to leave. In fact, she hoping for a job offer once she completes her training with Electropac, an electronics manufacturing company.

    “I worked here about two-and-a-half years ago," she says. "It’s quite different. Last time, I was here as an inspector. Now I’m operating a machine.”

    Electropac is one of more than 400 businesses around the state that have joined the Return to Work program. The chance to evaluate job seekers during the training period helps the company identify the best people for the job.

    “In addition to the various skills and ability to do the job, we also look for the person who takes responsibility for the job that they're performing," says Raymond Boissoneau, president of Electropac. "It’s more than just a repetitive type job. The type of product we make requires somebody who looks at doing a function and the ability to - if they see something wrong - stopping it and bringing it to their team leader. So it requires that little added concern and care of what you’re doing.”

    Lisa Eaton, who was laid off from a manufacturing marketing job more than a year ago, was hired by a real estate company after completing the on-the-job training.

    “I felt it was a smooth transition," she says."I never felt that it was an unpleasant challenge. It’s a positive challenge to learn new skills in a new industry.”

    She credits the Return to Work program with allowing her to change careers.

    “I was not satisfied in the role that I had with my prior employer," Eaton says. "I had been thinking about finding another job for a long time and I just never got around to it. You know how you kind of live with dissatisfaction. So it was a good, and probably needed, push to find something better suited to me and my personality and what I enjoy.”

    Her boss, Giovanni Verani, president and co-owner of Prudential Verani Realty, wasn't concerned about hiring someone with no previous experience in his field.

    “She had to get a real estate license, first of all. She did everything she needed to do to get a license," Verani says. "She was like a sponge when she first came in. She absorbed the industry. She came up to speed really quickly and I think the customers love her.”

    New Hampshire’s Return to Work initiative was inspired by a similar program in the southern state of Georgia, which also provided the model for President Obama’s “Bridge to Work” proposal for helping the long-term unemployed.

    More than 500 people have been trained through New Hampshire’s Return to Work program over the past two years, and more than 350 of them now have permanent full-time jobs. As more employers join the initiative, program coordinator Keith Badger expects more unemployed workers to return to work.

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunitiesi
    X
    VOA News
    July 25, 2016 5:09 PM
    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Calm the Waters: US Doubles Down Diplomatic Efforts in ASEAN Meetings

    The United States is redoubling diplomatic efforts and looking to upcoming regional meetings to calm the waters after an international tribunal invalidated the legal basis of Beijing's extensive claims in the South China Sea. VOA State Department correspondent Nike Ching has the story.
    Video

    Video Four Brother Goats Arrive in Brooklyn on a Mission

    While it's unusual to see farm animals in cities, it's become familiar for residents of Brooklyn, New York, to see a little herd of goats. Unlike gas-powered mowing equipment, goats remove invasive weeds quietly and without adding more pollution to the air. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this is a pilot program and if it proves to be successful, the goat gardener program will be extended to other areas of New York. Faith Lapidus narrates.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora