A federally funded program aims to help employers make new hires
By Kimberly Wein The State of California currently has an unemployment rate of 12.5 percent. According to the United States Department of Labor, this is, by far, the highest unemployment rate California has seen since 1976. With similarly sorry states across the country, the federal government has decided to step in and create more jobs that will get people back to work.
Shoreline Workforce Development Services (Shoreline) in conjunction with Goodwill Industries of Santa Cruz, Monterey and San Luis Obispo Counties is pairing employers with those in need of work through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act’s (ARRA) federally funded stimulus program and Subsidized Employment Training (SET). The federal government is offering approximately $2.3 million to employers that are interested in creating new jobs and hiring new employees that are subject to specific requirements or keeping employees that would otherwise be laid off.
These funds will help pay salaries, workman’s compensation insurance and benefits for new employees through the program for up to six months with the hope that employers would keep the new recruits past the benefit deadline; creating jobs and therefore stimulating the economy.
“The hope is these SET participants’ work will become productive and the employer will hire them into regular positions once the SET program has been completed,” says John Collins, senior vice president of Shoreline and Goodwill Industries. “The program is designed to jump start the economy and help the unemployed become employed.”
So how exactly does the program work?
There are some requirements that employees have to meet to qualify for the program. Each person must be a resident of Santa Cruz County (or the county in which they are applying) with legal right to work documentation. They also must be a parent of a child that is 18 years old or younger or an individual that is receiving Calworks. Also, the income level of the family or individual must be 200 percent of the poverty level or less. To give an idea of the income requirements, a family of two cannot make more than $2,428 a month and a family of four cannot make more than $3,675 each month.
Already at work to match up prospective candidates, Shoreline may have their work cut out for them. “Our references come from career centers around Santa Cruz County,” Collins says. “We work with potential employees and area employers, acting as the bridge between the two.”
Employers that are interested in participating in the program do not necessarily have to meet any specific requirements. “All businesses are eligible whether for profit or not for profit,” says Collins. “The only thing we can’t do is displace another employee.” There is an application that employers will have to download and fill out and there are some specifications that must be followed to enroll in the program. For example, employers may not replace any existing paid workers, infringe on the rights of current employees, along with other requirements that are mostly in place to protect the rights of the current employees of any given establishment. Other than that, all businesses are eligible to become part of the program to create an influx of new jobs in Santa Cruz County.
For anyone interested in more information about the ARRA federally funded stimulus program and SET participants and for employers to download the application, visit the Shoreline Workforce Development Services website at shorelineworks.org. Potential employers and employees can contact Tracy Stanley at 429-6415, Ext. 222 or stop by your local career center.