Entries in Jobs (17)


Obama Relaxing Deportation Rules for Younger Illegal Immigrants

Kevin Lamarque-Pool/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama is relaxing rules for younger illegal immigrants who haven't broken the law since coming into the country as children.

The Homeland Security Department will no longer deport those immigrants, and work permits will be given to them, administration officials confirmed to ABC News.

The widening pathway to citizenship is similar to the proposals in the Dream Act, legislation supported by Obama but blocked in Congress. Obama is scheduled to speak about the change this afternoon, effectively bringing the issue of immigration back into the 2012 race.

"Our nation's immigration laws must be enforced in a firm and sensible manner," Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said in a statement. "But they are not designed to be blindly enforced without consideration given to the individual circumstances of each case. Nor are they designed to remove productive young people to countries where they may not have lived or even speak the language. Discretion, which is used in so many other areas, is especially justified here."

The Obama administration is likely to deny that politics played a role in the announcement, but the timing is ideal for the president's reelection campaign. In the GOP primary, Mitt Romney adopted strictly conservative positions against illegal immigration in his effort to woo right-wing voters. He backs a strong fence along the border with Mexico, opposes most amnesty and boasts of his move as Massachusetts governor to deny in-state tuition for illegal immigrants.

Democrats have said they plan to hold Romney to those positions, painting him as a candidate with extreme views on immigration. Romney's campaign stumbled last month when the Republican National Committee's director of Hispanic outreach told reporters that Romney was "still deciding what his position on immigration is," fueling the notion that he holds few true convictions.

Obama's announcement today is likely to curry favor with Hispanics, a key growing voting bloc who could determine the winner in November in important states like Florida, Colorado and Nevada. The president currently beats Romney among Hispanics in polls, but most Latinos say they disapprove of his deportation policy. Obama also plans to speak to the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials in Florida next week, as will Romney.

Under the new rules, up to 800,000 immigrants will be affected. Deportation will no longer apply to immigrants who came into the country before they were 16 and are now under 30, have lived here for five straight years, have never been convicted of a crime, graduated from high school or got a GED, or have been in the military.

Those immigrants will be allowed to apply for a two-year work permit that can be renewed unlimited times.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Pentagon to Lift Some Restrictions on Women in Combat

Comstock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The Pentagon on Thursday will propose rule changes that will allow more women to formally serve in jobs closer to the front lines.

Defense officials say as many as 14,000 positions could be opened up, though the restrictions on women serving in infantry combat units will remain in place.

The rule change reflects the ongoing reality that in a decade of war in Iraq and Afghanistan, women were already dying in combat with the blurring of the traditional definition of front lines.  Nearly 300,000 women have served in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and 144 of them have died in those conflicts.

The rule change is included in a report required by Congress as part of last year’s Defense Authorization Bill that has been overdue for months.  The new rules likely will not go into effect until the summer if Congress raises no objections to the change.

Women will still be barred from serving in infantry combat units, defense officials say, but the changes will formally open up new positions at the combat battalion level that, until now, have been off-limits.

The new jobs opening up for female service members will be combat support positions, including communications, intelligence and logistical positions, defense officials add. Typically, these jobs have been made available at the combat brigade level, but not at the lower battalion level, which was deemed too close to combat situation.  

However, the insurgent nature of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan has blurred the line for combat situations. That often meant that all units likely could be exposed to some combat, including units where women were allowed to serve.

For example, in Iraq it was a regular occurrence that units that were technically not combat units were seeing combat. For example, women have been allowed to serve in military police units for years, but when those units were dispatched to Iraq to provide security and training, they were often under risk of attack.    

In 2005, Sgt. Leigh Ann Hester, serving with a military police unit in Iraq, became the first woman to receive the Silver Star since World War II.  Hester received the medal for valor for her role in fighting off a large insurgent attack on her convoy.

The rules to be announced Thursday will apply to all of the military services, but will have the greatest impact on the Army, given the large number of ground combat units it has.

A year ago, the Military Leadership Diversity Commission recommended that the military lift the ban on women serving in combat units.

The advisory panel of current and retired military officers said that keeping women from serving in combat units was an obstacle to promotions and career advancement.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Obama to Outline Latest Plan to Get Veterans Back to Work

Kevin Lamarque-Pool/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Following up on a proposal in his State of the Union address, President Obama on Friday will outline an initiative intended to help returning veterans find work by leveraging the skills developed in the military.
Speaking at a fire station whose firefighters were among the first to respond on 9/11, the president will detail his plan for a “Veterans Job Corps” to help veterans find work as first responders and law enforcement officers.
“We want to encourage police and fire departments around the country to take advantage of the training, skills, dedication, discipline and competence that our veterans have gained through their selfless military service,” Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki told reporters in a preview of the president’s announcement.
At Fire Station #5 in Arlington, Va., the president will announce that his 2013 budget will include $4 billion in funding for grants to spur police officer hiring and $1 billion for grants to encourage firefighter hiring. This funding was first proposed in the president's American Jobs Act.
Preference for these grants would be given to communities that recruit and hire post-9/11 veterans to service as police officers and firefighters.
The president's initiative also includes a new conservation program to put veterans back to work on projects restoring the nation's public lands and plans to expand entrepreneurship training so veterans can gain the skills they need to start new businesses.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Alabama Immigration Enforcement Law Hurting State's Economy

Hemera/Thinkstock(TUSCALOOSA, Ala.) -- Are tough immigration enforcement laws designed to provide jobs for American citizens and save money actually bleeding money from states?  It appears so in Alabama.

Since enacting a law last June that allows police to detain people suspected of being in the U.S. illegally, the state's economy has lost an estimated $10.8 billion.

That's according to a study by University of Alabama economist Samuel Addy, who says that about 80,000 jobs were vacated since illegal immigrants left the state rather than face arrest.

In addition, more than $350 million in income taxes as well as city, county and state sales taxes have been lost due to fewer people spending money in Alabama.

Advocates of the law maintain that the absence of illegal immigrants would provide unemployed legal residents with work, but that apparently hasn't happened because many people don't want to toil at the same low-paying jobs for long hours.

The argument that Alabama would save money on health and education services spent on undocumented aliens has also been struck down by Addy, who contends that the cost of litigation and enforcing the law is surpassing those savings.

There is a move afoot by state Democrats to repeal the law but the GOP-controlled legislature has only promised to look at possibly revising some aspects of it.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Who Wants to Be an Astronaut? NASA to Hire Civilian Candidates

Chris Cohen/NASA(HOUSTON) -- NASA called for all willing candidates to apply for a spot in the next astronaut class by midnight Friday. It’s a leap of faith because there is no great space race anymore and Newt Gingrich is the only candidate who even mentions a future in space for the U.S.

Nevertheless, NASA said that as of late Friday, it had received 5,700 applications, more than ever before. Only about a dozen new astronauts will be chosen.

NASA is building a capsule called Orion, and the rocket to launch it remains to be determined. It could be a Delta or a Falcon, or a new NASA rocket on steroids called the SLS (Space Launch System).

The astronauts are all dressed up with no place to go because until the president and Congress agree on a new mission for them, the only game in town is the International Space Station, which veterans privately say ranks as one of the most boring missions on the books. The ISS has a crew of six, all launched, for now, in Russian Soyuz capsules. Between them, the crew members only do 35 hours of research a week; the rest of the time is spent maintaining their orbiting colony.

NASA’s most ambitious mission, at the moment, is the robotic Mars Curiosity Rover -- no astronauts needed -- which is humming along to Mars to land in August.

What would an astronaut even have to look forward to besides fixing the toilet on the space station? They have no hot showers, no pizza, no ice cream. A stiff drink? Forget about it. But the view is great, and they have Internet now on the space station. The benefits are fabulous (lifetime health care -- the perks of being a human guinea pig for NASA, which wants to know about vision loss, muscle mass loss, decreased bone density and radiation exposure).

Salaries for civilian astronaut candidates are based on the federal government’s general schedule pay scale for grades GS-12 through GS-13. Each person’s grade is determined according to his or her academic achievements and experience. Currently, a GS-12 starts at $65,140 per year and a GS-13 can earn up to $100,701 per year.

Military astronaut candidates are assigned to the Johnson Space Center and remain on active duty status for pay, benefits, leave and other similar matters.

NASA currently has 57 active astronauts. It says it needs more because a person can only stay in space six months at a time. After that, you exceed the allowable limits for radiation exposure, and it takes months to recover from a tour of duty on the space station. Not every astronaut is willing to commit to the three years it takes to train for a mission to the ISS. So they are having a tough time staffing the space station.

Here’s where to apply: … If you think you have the right stuff.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


President Obama Heads to Disney World to Talk Tourism, Jobs

TOBY MELVILLE/AFP/Getty Images(ORLANDO, Fla.) -- Standing in front of Cinderella Castle at Walt Disney World Thursday afternoon, President Obama will call for a national strategy to make the U.S. the world’s number one travel and tourism destination.

Tourism means big bucks: Last year, international tourists spent an estimated $140 billion in the U.S.

Whether they come to Disney World to meet Mickey and Minnie Mouse, or elsewhere, tourists from emerging economies such as China, India and Brazil are their own mini stimulus packages, dropping up to $6,000 per tourist.

But for the last decade, they've been increasingly spending that money elsewhere, as the U.S. share of global tourism plummeted from 17 percent to 11 percent.  This is largely because of post-9/11 security procedures that have made getting a visa an arduous process.

The U.S. Travel Association estimates that these delays have cost the U.S. economy $606 billion and 467,000 jobs over the last decade.
"Every 35 visitors to the U.S. creates one job," Geoff Freeman, chief operating officer of the U.S. Travel Association told ABC News. "We were losing between four and five thousand jobs a year because of our inability to keep pace with global travel trends."

So Thursday, at the Magic Kingdom, Obama will announce plans to turn that around with steps such as simplifying the process for tourism visas, adding an estimated 100 more consuls in countries such as China and Brazil.

The president is taking his actions through executive order, as part of his "We Can't Wait" initiatives which he says are necessary because of congressional gridlock, and which critics warn are increasingly becoming extra-Constitutional power grabs.

Nonetheless, administration officials say the moves could have a serious stimulative impact.

The White House hopes these new measures will help add 1.2 million new jobs and $859 billion to the U.S. economy by 2020.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Building Hope in Las Vegas


(LAS VEGAS) -- Life is tough here in Las Vegas.  With 13.6 percent of the area’s population out of work -- compared to the nationwide jobless rate of 9 percent -- the city is suffering one of the highest unemployment rates in the country. With gambling revenues down, the concern of more layoffs constantly nags at those who still have jobs.

In the current economy, the big players here are giving up on building big new casinos and resorts.  Instead, the focus is turning toward ways to attract crowds for less money and without an emphasis on gambling.

That’s where Caesars Entertainment comes in.  The company is developing Linq -- a massive entertainment district filled with restaurants, bars, and retail shops patterned after The Grove, a well-known Los Angeles mall popular with Hollywood celebrities.

“It will really bring a new dimension to the center strip of Las Vegas,” Caesars Regional President Rick Mazer told ABC News.

Mazer said the Linq project will be focused on offering an affordable entertainment option that differs from what is currently available on the Vegas Strip.  “We have had an ample amount of hotel and casino product come online recently and they’ve had their hiccups,” he said.

Linq will mean jobs for badly battered Las Vegas.  “We will have approximately 3,000 construction jobs that are created through this project.  Some of that has already started. When the project is done in mid-2013 we anticipate another 1,300 full time jobs,” explains Mazer.

Linq is being built along a private street separating the Imperial Palace from the Flamingo Hotel.  It will stretch from the Las Vegas Strip to a street behind the hotels -- its centerpiece, a 550-foot “observation wheel.”  Mazer says it will not be a Ferris wheel, but instead a massive structure taller than the London Eye (443ft) with glass-enclosed cabins that hold 40 passengers each and circle above the Strip.

“In a time when jobs are scarce and many companies are not creating jobs we are very proud to say we are creating thousands of jobs,” says Mazer.

The Linq project offers hope at a time when hope in Sin City is hard to find.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


More Americans Than Ever in Poverty

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The Great Recession has changed the face of poverty in America.

More people -- 46.2 million - live in poverty today than at any other time in American history. And compared to the 1990s they are more likely to be white, live in the Midwest, have a high school diploma and own a home, according to a Brookings Institute report released Thursday.

“This has been a really tough decade economically,” said Elizabeth Kneebone, an author of the Brookings Institute report. “After two economic downturns and falling incomes over the 2000s, we’ve seen that [poverty rate] push back up. It’s likely that we have not seen the last of the increases in America’s poor population.”

With manufacturing jobs disappearing and unemployment sticking above nine percent, poverty rates in some Midwest cities, such as Detroit and Toledo, Ohio, have doubled over the last decade. And in the South, poverty in some metro areas, such as El Paso, Texas and Baton Rouge, La., has increased by more than a third, according to the report.

“These communities tend to have higher crime rates, worse health outcomes for residents, schools are often poorer performing and there are fewer job opportunities and networks to connect people with jobs,” Kneebone said.

But despite these recent increases, America has seen darker days when it comes to people in poverty.

“Obviously we are not in a Great Depression,” said Linda Barrington, the managing director of Cornell University’s Institute for Compensation Studies. “We cannot make a comparison to what was happening then. But that doesn’t give us a lot to celebrate about.”

While there was no official poverty measure during the Great Depression, scholars estimate that about one-third of American families were critically poor. That is more than double the 15.1 percent poverty rate in 2010. However, because the population has nearly tripled since 1940, there is a larger number of Americans in poverty today than during the Great Depression.

“The point is [that] it is really high,” Barrington said. “But it’s not historically high.”

In fact, since an official poverty line was developed in the 1960s, the poverty rate has peaked above 15 percent only twice, in 1993, when it was also 15.1 percent, and in 1983, when it hit 15.2 percent.

To be classified as impoverished, a family of four has to earn less than $22,314 and an individual has to make less than $11,139, or about $30 per day.

“In the United States today, [poverty] doesn’t necessarily mean children starving in the streets and homeless people, although they are a small part of the poverty story,” said Shawn Fremstad, a senior research associate at the Center for Economic and Policy Research. “It is more about struggling, and running up debts, and cutting corners and all sorts of those things because of economic pressure.”

Both Fremstad and Barrington said the best way to lower the poverty rate is to jump-start the economy so it creates more jobs.

“The single most important thing is getting a job,” Barrington said. “If you’re poor and don’t have a job, you don’t have savings. You have to get money to get above the poverty line and you get money by working.”

While the national poverty rate is above 15 percent, only about seven percent of people working full time are below the poverty line.

“You can get the rate down from 15 to five by getting a lot more people employed,” Barrington said. “So jobs are the first thing.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Obama Says Fort Monroe Will Help Create Jobs

KAREN BLEIER/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- In yet another executive action, President Obama Tuesday signed a proclamation to designate Fort Monroe a National Monument, billing it as “an incredibly important economic boost to the region.”
“Fort Monroe has played a part in some of the darkest and some of the most heroic moments in American history. But today isn’t just about preserving a national landmark -- it’s about helping to create jobs and grow the local economy. Steps like these won’t replace the bold action we need from Congress to get our economy moving and strengthen middle-class families, but they will make a difference,” Obama said in a written statement.
According to the White House, the preservation of Fort Monroe in Hampton, Va., will help create nearly 3,000 jobs in the state. “It will add millions of dollars to the local economy in and around Hampton.  And so this is a win-win. Not only is it good for the people of that region now, but it also allows us to set aside this incredibly important site for the enjoyment and appreciation of generations to come,” Obama told reporters Tuesday.
The announcement marks yet another unilateral action by the president intended to grow the economy and circumvent Republicans in Congress, who are blocking his $447 billion jobs bill.
“There’s a strong economic component to this. We think we’re going to see additional jobs in Virginia as a consequence of this.  But for those members of Congress who are here, I still need some action from Congress on the American Jobs Act and other steps,” Obama joked. “But in the meantime, this is going to make a big difference.”
Fort Monroe is integral to the history of slavery, the Civil War, and the U.S. military. It was the place where Dutch traders first brought enslaved Africans in 1619 and during the Civil War the Fort became a place for escaped slaves to find refuge.
In 1861, the Fort was the site of General Benjamin Butler’s “Contraband Decision,” which provided a pathway to freedom for thousands of slaves.
“I am looking forward to not only visiting myself but also taking Malia and Sasha down there so they can get a little bit of sense of their history,” the president said.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Michelle Obama to Announce 25,000 Jobs for Veterans, Spouses

Alex Wong/Getty Images(HAMPTON, Va.) -- First Lady Michelle Obama is expected to make her first appearance on a presidential bus tour Wednesday, joining her husband at Joint Base Langley-Eustis in Virginia to make an announcement about jobs for military veterans and their spouses.

The first lady is scheduled to unveil a commitment by the American Logistics Association, a trade group of 270 private companies, to hire 25,000 veterans and their spouses by the end of 2013, administration officials say.

Among the ALA members participating in the pledge are ConAgra Foods, which has vowed to hire 3,000 veterans, Prime Team Services, which will add 1,250, and Tysons Foods, which will also recruit an undisclosed number of veteran workers.

Pat Nixon, president of ALA, said most of the jobs are in on-base retail facilities, such as grocery and wholesale stores, gas stations, convenience stores, recreation facilities and day care centers.

Officials called the announcement the “largest coordinated effort by the private sector to date to hire veterans and spouses.”  It’s one quarter of the goal set by President Obama on Aug. 5 when he urged businesses to hire 100,000 veterans and spouses by the end of 2013.

To date, 12,000 veterans and spouses have been hired under the Obama initiative, according to Bradley Cooper, executive director of the Joining Forces, which is spearheaded by Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden to raise awareness about the special needs of veterans and military families.

“The message for businesses is we want to ensure that these talented veterans and spouses have the opportunities they deserve, and that businesses understand that value that veterans and spouses bring,” Cooper said.

“They’ve completed over the last 10 years incredibly complex missions with high stakes and an incredible number of variables...that would make most people’s heads spin.  They’re trained in state-of-the-art technologies, they managed dozens and in some cases hundreds of people,” he said. “It makes good business sense for them to be hired and positively impact a company’s bottom line.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio