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.
    Ivorian Chocolate Makers Promote Locally-made Chocolatei
    X
    July 29, 2016 4:02 PM
    Ivory Coast is the world's top producer of cocoa but hardly any of it is processed into chocolate there. Instead, the cocoa is sent abroad to chocolate makers in Europe and elsewhere. This is a general problem throughout Africa – massive exports of raw materials but few finished goods. As Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, several Ivorian entrepreneurs are working to change that formula - 100 percent Ivorian chocolate bar at a time.
    Video

    Video Ivorian Chocolate Makers Promote Locally-made Chocolate

    Ivory Coast is the world's top producer of cocoa but hardly any of it is processed into chocolate there. Instead, the cocoa is sent abroad to chocolate makers in Europe and elsewhere. This is a general problem throughout Africa – massive exports of raw materials but few finished goods. As Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, several Ivorian entrepreneurs are working to change that formula - 100 percent Ivorian chocolate bar at a time.
    Video

    Video Tesla Opens Battery-Producing Gigafactory

    Two years after starting to produce electric cars, U.S. car maker Tesla Motors has opened the first part of its huge battery manufacturing plant, which will eventually cover more than a square kilometer. Situated close to Reno, Nevada, the so-called Gigafactory will eventually produce more lithium-ion batteries than were made worldwide in 2013. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Polio-affected Afghan Student Fulfilling Her Dreams in America

    Afghanistan is one of only two countries in the world where children still get infected by polio. The other is Pakistan. Mahbooba Akhtarzada who is from Afghanistan, was disabled by polio, but has managed to overcome the obstacles caused by this crippling disease. VOA's Zheela Nasari caught up with Akhtarzada and brings us this report narrated by Bronwyn Benito.
    Video

    Video Hillary Clinton Promises to Build a 'Better Tomorrow'

    Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton urged voters Thursday not to give in to the politics of fear. She vowed to unite the country and move it forward if elected in November. Clinton formally accepted the Democratic Party's nomination at its national convention in Philadelphia. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more.
    Video

    Video Trump Tones Down Praise for Russia

    Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is toning down his compliments for Russia and Vladimir Putin as such rhetoric got him in trouble recently. After calling on Russia to find 30.000 missing emails from rival Hillary Clinton, Trump told reporters he doesn't know Putin and never called him a great leader, just one who's better than President Barack Obama. Putin has welcomed Trump's overtures, but, as Zlatica Hoke reports, ordinary Russians say they are not putting much faith in Trump.
    Video

    Video Uganda Unveils its First Solar-powered Bus

    A solar-powered bus described by its Ugandan makers as the first in Africa has made its public debut. Kiira Motors' electric bus, Kayoola, displayed recently at a stadium in Uganda's capital. From Kampala, Maurice Magorane filed this report narrated by Salem Solomon.
    Video

    Video Silicon Valley: More Than A Place, It's a Culture

    Silicon Valley is a technology powerhouse and a place that companies such as Google, Facebook and Apple call home. It is a region in northern California that stretches from San Francisco to San Jose. But, more than that, it's known for its startup culture. VOA's Elizabeth Lee went inside one company to find out what it's like to work in a startup.
    Video

    Video Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video Dutch Entrepreneurs Turn Rainwater Into Beer

    June has been recorded as one of the wettest months in more than a century in many parts of Europe. To a group of entrepreneurs in Amsterdam the rain came as a blessing, as they used the extra water to brew beer. Serginho Roosblad has more to the story.
    Video

    Video Commerce Thrives on US-Mexico Border

    At the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia this week, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is expected to attack proposals made by her opponent, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Last Friday, President Barack Obama hosted his Mexican counterpart, President Enrique Peña Nieto, to underscore the good relations between the two countries. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Tucson.
    Video

    Video Film Helps Save Ethiopian Children Thought to be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at effort of African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children
    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.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora