Last year found many California workers with personal finances in the deep red. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, California had the greatest number of job losses with over 617,000 workers either laid off or terminated. Accordingly, the number of residents regularly receiving unemployment checks and filing new claims for unemployment benefits rose. The good news for the unemployed is that an economic recovery is projected for 2010. After cutting costs and laying off workers, employers will need new employees to meet increasing production demand. Lynn Reaser, chief economist at Point Loma Nazarene University, has predicted there will be job growth in all areas of the economy especially in the tech, health care, and accounting sectors. Although unemployment rates will be slower to improve than industry growth, Reaser suspects that the national unemployment rate will level out at 9.5 percent.
The other piece of good news is that the federal government is stepping in to create more jobs through its $500 million green jobs initiative. It may be said that “money doesn’t grow on trees,” but unemployed workers may earn some much needed green by helping out the environment. Following the millions of dollars already authorized, theU.S. Department of Labor recently announced an additional $150 million in grants for workers willing to be trained in energy efficiency jobs. Authorized by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, this award is part of a round of grants that will be used in projects in areas of the country with at least a 15% poverty rate. The goal is to provide the unemployed, particularly high school drop-outs and minorities, with basic education and occupational skills so they may find work in an eco-friendly career.
Organizations receiving grants in California include:
• The Los Angeles Community College District
• The National Council of La Raza for San Jose and San Diego
• Northern Rural Training and Employment Consortium
• The West Hills Community College District
In addition, more green grants are expected to be announced in the next couple weeks.
Over the next month or so the program will be working closely with employer groups to determine how much demand there is for certain types of jobs and the amount of training required for each. The type of work is lkely to be varied, but probably best suited for individuals who like working outdoors, have some construction experience, or simply want a career change. If you are interested in applying for the program, you can visit the Employment Development Department (EDD)’s One-Stop Career Center in your county. Even though applications won’t be available for several weeks, unemployed workers can still take advantage of the center to register for California labor law attorney.