Entries in Workforce (5)


Older Unemployed Likely to Stay Out of Work Longer

Hemera/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- For those aged 55 or older, the job hunt has proven especially tough. According to AARP’s Public Policy Institute, older workers who lose their jobs are likely to be out of work longer than any other group. The latest numbers show the average time of unemployment for the 55-plus crowd is a whopping 60 weeks. That compares with 38.5 weeks for those under age 55.

The Institute says that 60 weeks of unemployment is the highest recorded, and possibly the highest ever for that age group.

The unemployment rate for those 55 and older in April was 6.3 percent, a good deal lower than the overall jobless rate, which fell to 8.1 percent. But that’s up from 3.2 percent at the beginning of the recession in December 2007. That’s a 97 percent increase, the largest of any age group. Traditionally older workers have had a lower unemployment rate, according to Sara Rix, a senior Strategic Policy Advisor with the AARP’s Public Policy Institute.

“Once those older workers are out of work, they’re not getting back in,” said Rix. “Older workers are more likely to drop out of the labor force.”

“Workers have all suffered since the beginning of the recession; they’ve dipped into their 401(k)’s, taken loans or borrowed. It’s not good for anybody,” said Rix.  "But younger workers have a longer period of time to recover. Older workers, if they’re lucky enough to find work, are not going to be able to recover as easily.”

The numbers don’t surprise Tom Sachse of Memphis, Tenn. He’s in that 55-plus group and has been looking for work since September. A former sales manager, Sachse believes “it’s about ten times harder for a good-performing older person to get a job than a young one.”

“We have to work to pay the bills,” said Sachse, “and it feels as though the world has dumped us.”

Sachse remains hopeful though. He’s still pounding the pavement and has had some nibbles.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Work Is Scarce for Obama's Green Job Training Grads

Digital Vision/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Despite new, government-funded green job training programs springing up across the U.S., there's still very few green jobs available for those who manage to graduate from the programs.

According to the most recent data from the BlueGreen Alliance and the Economic Policy Institute, there were 3,586 graduates of Department of Labor-funded green job training programs as of Sept. 30, 2010, but only 466 entered new jobs upon completion of the program.

The program is funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and geared toward helping unemployed workers, low-income individuals, high school dropouts or people with criminal records.  Stimulus money for green industry training was funneled through the Labor Department, which reports that $490 million out of the $500 million outlined in the Recovery Act has been awarded; most of the grants were awarded in January 2010.

But many of these training programs say the green jobs are not out there.

As of April 15, only 55 out of 304 green job training program graduates from Workforce Connection, a non-profit organization in Ocala, Florida, have found jobs.  And some of those jobs are not even green.  Workforce has spent about half of its $2.9 million grant and is now working with the Labor Department to modify it to focus more on placing graduates in jobs, rather than training.

Asheville Buncombe Christian Ministry, in Asheville, North Carolina, began a green job training program funded by stimulus dollars in March 2010.  As of April 15, ABCCM has placed 51 of its 111 graduates in jobs, not all of them green.

"As far as green jobs are concerned, the jobs are definitely not waiting there for the graduates," said Susan Garrett, ABCCM's Green Jobs Director.

In Pennsylvania, the Lehigh Valley Workforce Investment Board is seeing mixed results.  Its weatherization training program has had a high job placement rate, with 15 of its 23 graduates being employed, as of April 15.  But out of more than 100 participants in its "Pathways to Green Jobs" basic skills and green jobs training, only 22 are now employed.

LVWIB's executive director, Nancy Dischinat, said the economy has a lot to do with the lack of green jobs, but she remains optimistic.

"At least we have growth potential there.  We have projected openings," said Dischinat, referring to a report produced by the Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry that projects 41,190 new green jobs by 2012. 

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Company Facing Lawsuits for Alleged Sexual Assaults Voted Top Employer for Women

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(HOUSTON) -- KBR, a company that has been sued repeatedly for alleged sexual assaults and harassment of female employees, has been voted one of the best companies for women to work for by a magazine aimed at female engineers.

Woman Engineer named the Houston-based contracting company number 46 in the 2011 version of the magazine's annual list of the top 50 best workplaces. Winners were chosen by readers who responded to a survey, and the magazine will publish the full list later this month.

KBR has extensive contracts in Iraq and Afghanistan. Attorney Todd Kelly, who has so far represented five former KBR employees who have alleged sexual assault or harassment, told ABC News that in all about 40 women have contacted his office about alleged incidents that occurred while they were working overseas for KBR or at one of its facilities.

Kelly said he didn't think the women he's interviewed or represented would be pleased with Woman Engineer's honor. "The women that I've spoken with personally, who have talked about just rampant misconduct, sexual and otherwise, by KBR management, I don't think would agree with that distinction," said Kelly. "I find it extremely interesting that the timing of that particular distinction comes out just a couple of months before the Jamie Jones trial is about to start."

Jamie Leigh Jones was working her fourth day on the job in Baghdad in 2005 when, she says, she was drugged and gang-raped by seven U.S. contractors and held captive by two KBR guards in a shipping container. Like other alleged victims, Jones had signed a contract requiring her to deal with sexual assault allegations through arbitration. But in September 2009 a federal appeals court ruled that the case could go to court instead of arbitration. Jones's lawsuit won't go to trial until June, but it has already led to the passage of the Franken Amendment, which prohibits contractors from using arbitration as opposed to the courts against ex-employees claiming sexual assault.

Other victims include Tracy Barker, who won a $3 million judgment in arbitration against KBR over a 2005 sexual assault. KBR initially challenged the award, saying the rape claim had never been confirmed. "I was raped," Barker responded. "KBR knows that and they're wrong about that."

Another alleged victim, Anna Mayo, was working in KBR's facility in Balad, Iraq in November 2009 when she says she was assaulted by an unnamed rapist who worked for KBR. She charged that she was choked unconscious with a rope, beaten and raped. KBR filed a motion to dismiss, saying that Ms. Mayo should get worker's compensation but not anything else. Mayo's case is still pending.

The editor of Woman Engineer, Jim Schneider, told ABC News that the rankings in its annual list were decided by readers. The magazine sent out a survey to about 1,000 readers that asked: "What companies and government agencies would you like to work for or believe are progressive in recruiting, hiring and promoting women engineers?" They ask respondents to rate their top three choices and then each is weighted accordingly to complete the rankings.

KBR did not immediately respond to an ABC News request for comment. In a press release issued in response to Woman Engineer's rankings, the company said, "KBR is proud of its diverse workforce...Their efforts do not go unnoticed and help us recognize the elements that will help us to continue to thrive in the future."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio 


US Company Pulls Jobs from China

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(MILWAUKEE) – A Milwaukee-based company has announced they will bring some three dozen jobs back to the United States from China, where labor unrest has driven wages higher.

Master Lock said the move will bring the total number of workers at their U.S. factory to 379, reports the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

The company also cited the increased cost of shipping and a weakened U.S. dollar.
Still, the company’s U.S. workforce is far below what it used to be. Before outsourcing to China and Mexico, 1,300 employees were employed at the Milwaukee facility in the 1990s. 

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Gender Pay Gap Report: Women Managers Still Lag Behind Men

Photo Courtesy -- Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- According to a new government report, females in management positions and their corresponding pay still lag behind that of their male counterparts.  The U.S.Government Accountability Office report, "Women in Management: Analysis of Female Managers' Representation, Characteristics, and Pay," released Tuesday, found little has changed for women in the workforce when it comes to compensation.  Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., and chair of the Joint Economic Committee, commissioned the report and is holding a congressional hearing Tuesday to discuss its findings.  "What is most startling to me is how little progress we've made even though there's a bright spot in that more women are gaining education, we're closing the education gap but we're not closing the pay gap," Maloney said. Although there are more women represented across several industries, the number of women managers only increased by one percent -- from 39 percent in 2000 to 40 percent in 2007.  The report analyzed 13 industries from construction to health care and looked at the pay gap between female and male managers. The factors used in determining the salary levels included age, hours worked and education.  For the first time, the report also looked at working mothers in management.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

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