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Georgia's New Deal: New Job Opportunities for All Unemployed

Photo Courtesy - Georgia Department of Labor(ATLANTA) -- Georgia's high unemployment rate of 10 percent has labor officials scrambling to prevent more people from joining the ranks of the unemployed, and ultimately to bring the number down.

The state's labor department has created a new work program for every unemployed person in the state. The program allows an unemployed person to approach an interested employer, and work under a trial period while getting trained. The state underwrites the cost of that work for six weeks.

When it works, it's a win-win for everyone. An employer gets a state-sanctioned worker for free; in exchange, the worker gets new hope that at the end of the trial period, they will be hired.

Under the Georgia program, those workers who qualify for unemployment insurance will continue to receive their payments during the six weeks they're in the trial period. Those workers who don't qualify for unemployment insurance will get a $600 stipend from the state.

A smaller version of the idea, called Georgia Works, has already been proven successful. It resulted in permanent jobs for several hundred people last year.

Georgia's labor commissioner, Michael Thurmond, said the program works because employers and employees get a custom-fit. Additionally, the unemployed get personally invested in the job. There is really no risk for either party, he said.

Of the thousands of unemployed workers who enrolled in the program, 36 percent were hired permanently within the first six weeks and 63 percent found jobs within the next 90 days.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

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