Productive Plan for 99ers
I happened to catch the Platform to Employment segment on 60 Minutes this week and couldn’t help but applaud! Now this is a productive plan. This non-profit has gone well above and beyond typical outsourcing activities to develop and support a program for those who are still deeply affected by unemployment and have tried, with no success, to secure a job on their own. Referred to as 99ers, these are the very capable unemployed whose benefits have been extended for up to 99 weeks and whose personal self-worth can be described as dismal. For most, they see their skills becoming less relevant, their once vibrant careers slipping steadily away, and their financial net worth eroded. Platform to Employment (P2E) was developed by The WorkPlace, an incorporated group that supports, collaborates and advocates for workforce development regionally in Connecticut, as well as nationally by sharing best practices and lessons learned. With a tagline of think it forward it’s no wonder this group has innovatively found a way to get Americans feeling more productive, confident, and self-sufficient. In effect, this program can be compared to pay for performance only its performance for employment.
Folks who participate are taken through three tiers of support: Tier One – job readiness; Tier Two – emotional readiness; Tier Three – 8 week work experience. During the first two tiers of the program, those who have struggled with unemployment and have heard ‘no’ more times than we can think are coached and trained back from the social, emotional, and technical deficiencies they felt as a result of their long term unemployment status. Most importantly, the emphasis is put on improving performance, managing change, problem solving, and effective communication. They are essentially being taught how to be the best employee they can be, in spite of their past circumstances. The final phase is where performance for employment comes in. P2E secures an eight week work-for-hire, matching companies who are looking for skilled candidates. By reducing the risk of the hiring company, candidates have the opportunity to earn a position by performing their way to employment. I applaud the companies that have stepped up to participate in getting Americans back to work, and to P2E for their innovative program. I hope to see P2E replicated all over the country in months to come.