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.
Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prisoni
X
Heather Murdock
July 01, 2015 8:59 PM
As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Nubians in Kenya Face Land Challenges

East Africa's ethnic Nubians have a rich cultural history that dates back thousands of years, but in Kenya they are facing hardships, including the loss of lands they have lived on for generations. They say the government has reneged on its pledge to award them title deeds for the plots. VOA's Lenny Ruvaga reports.
Video

Video Military Experts Question New Russian Tank Capabilities

Russia has been showing off its new tank design – the Armata T-14. Designers claim it is 20 years ahead of current Western designs - and driving it feels like playing a computer game. But military analysts question those assertions, and warn the cost could be too heavy a burden for Russia’s struggling economy. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs