Congress could easily appropriate funds to each state for programs just like the one in Washington, aimed at the long-term unemployed who face such seemingly insurmountable obstacles to re-employment.
We could make a necessary investment in the public re-employment services that each state is supposed to offer as part of the regular UI program, but can barely afford to do so as the result of years of funding neglect from Congress. While we work on one end to return the long-term unemployed to jobs, we can work on the other end to make sure that people don’t cross that six-month line and become long-term unemployed.
The job-creation solutions are fairly obvious, including investments in infrastructure repairs and public employment. It is high time for Congress to have the will to really tackle long-term unemployment, help people get back to work, and restore unemployment insurance benefits to the long-term unemployed.
Judy Conti is the federal advocacy coordinator at the National Employment Law Project.