Pathways Back to Work for Americans Looking for Jobs

  • Reform Our Unemployment Insurance System to Provide Greater Flexibility, While Ensuring 6 Million People Do Not Lose Benefits: Drawing on the best ideas of both parties and the most innovative states, the President is proposing the most sweeping reforms to the unemployment insurance (UI) system in 40 years help those without jobs transition to the workplace. Alongside these reforms, the President is reiterating his call to extend unemployment insurance, preventing 6 million people looking for work from losing their benefits and extending what the independent Congressional Budget Office has determined is the highest "bang for the buck" option to increase economic activity.
    • Reemployment Assistance: States will be required to design more rigorous reemployment services for the long-term unemployed and to conduct assessments to review the longest-term claimants of UI to assess their eligibility and help them develop a work-search plan. These reforms are proven to speed up UI beneficiaries' return to work.
    • Work-sharing: The President will expand "work-sharing" to encourage arrangements using UI that keep employees on the job at reduced hours, rather than laying them off.
    • State Flexibility for Bold Reforms to Put the Long-Term Unemployed Back To Work: The President is proposing to provide additional funds to allow states to introduce new programs aimed at long-term unemployed workers, including:
      • "Bridge to Work" Programs: States will be able to try reforms -- building off while improving on the model of programs like Georgia Works or Opportunity North Carolina --that provide a "bridge to work" for the long-term unemployed by permitting workers to continue receiving UI while they take temporary, voluntary work or pursue work-based training. The President's plan would encourage the development of such proposals, and provide support to help states comply with applicable minimum wage and other worker rights laws.
      • Wage Insurance: States will be able to use UI to encourage older, long-term unemployed Americans to return to work in new industries or occupations.
      • Startup Assistance: States will have flexibility to help long-term unemployed workers create their own jobs by starting their own small businesses.
      • Other Reemployment Reforms: States will be able to seek waivers from the Secretary of Labor to implement other innovative reforms to connect the long-term unemployed to work opportunities.
  • Tax Credits for Hiring the Long-Term Unemployed: The President is proposing a tax credit of up to $4,000 for hiring workers who have been looking for a job for over six months.
  • Investing in Low-Income Youth and Adults: The President is proposing a new Pathways Back to Work Fund to provide hundreds of thousands of low-income youth and adults with opportunities to work and to achieve needed training in growth industries. The Initiative will do three things: i) support summer and year-round jobs for youth, building off of successful programs that supported over 370,000 such jobs in 2009 and 2010; ii) support subsidized employment opportunities for low-income individuals who are unemployed, building off the successful TANF Emergency Contingency Fund wage subsidy program that supported 260,000 jobs in 2009 and 2010; and iii) support promising and innovative local work-based job and training initiatives to place low-income adults and youths in jobs quickly.
  • Prohibiting Employers from Discriminating Against Unemployed Workers: The President's plan calls for legislation that would make it unlawful to refuse to hire applicants solely because they are unemployed or to include in a job posting a provision that unemployed persons will not be considered.

Fully Paid for as Part of the President's Long-Term Deficit Reduction Plan: The President will release a detailed deficit reduction plan in the coming days that will pay for every penny of the American Jobs Act and include additional deficit reduction sufficient to stabilize our debt as a share of our economy. He will also call on the Joint Committee come up with the additional deficit reduction necessary to pay for the American Jobs Act and still meet their deficit target.