By Gerrit Hall
If you’ve been out of work for six months or longer, you might feel like every month that goes by it becomes more impossible to find a job. Keeping skills and experience current is not only important for your own professional development, but employers often want to see that you’ve been active while searching for your next job.
A new Federal program announced last week is aimed at helping the long-term unemployed gain this much-needed experience -- and maybe even land a new job. In an effort to help the 5.3 million Americans who have been out of work long-term, the program would be modeled after one implemented in Georgia, which allowed workers to continue collecting unemployment benefits -- along with a stipend to cover transportation and other expenses -- while trying out a job (at no cost to the employer). This helped workers keep up with current skills and learn new ones while still receiving unemployment assistance.
Here’s what else you need to know about it:
1. Only 10 states can participate (for now). The Labor Department is in charge of the application process and will choose which states will be part of the model program. Currently, North Carolina, New Hampshire, Utah and Missouri are among several states that combine unemployment benefits with on-the-job training, according to FoxNews.com. The states chosen will be able to develop new ways to help the unemployed get back to work faster.
2. It’s part of an overhaul of the unemployment insurance system. In the coming months, the Labor Department will announce additional initiatives to reform the unemployment insurance system -- to essentially turn the unemployment program into a “reemployment” program -- including providing employers tools to avoid layoffs, helping the unemployed get back into the workforce faster and even expand opportunities for the unemployed to start their own businesses, a post on the White House blog states.
3. It could help you land your next job. The Georgia program, called “Georgia Works,” found that about a third of the time workers who participated in these trial periods ended up getting hired full-time. And even if you don’t get hired at the company you’ve trained with, having the additional experience and skills to list on your resume is certainly a leg up that can help you land a job someplace else.
What do you think of this new initiative? Would you participate in a trial period with an employer to keep your skills current while unemployed?
Gerrit Hall is the CEO and co-founder of RezScore, a free web application that reads, analyzes, and grades resumes – instantly. Gerrit has successfully combined his passion for computer science and the careers space by helping job seekers write the best resume possible. You can connect with Gerrit and RezScore on Facebook and Twitter.