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Unemployment Reforms May Hit Older Workers Hardest: New Requirements Will Have Huge Impacts
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Unemployment Reforms May Hit Older Workers Hardest: New Requirements Will Have Huge Impacts

Congress will be discussing potential reforms to unemployment, including several provisions that if passed could dramatically impact older workers as well as those who live in areas that have been especially hard hit by job loss. One of the most controversial of these reforms will require recipients to either have their high school diploma or be enrolled in an adult education program. In addition, the overall length of unemployment benefits might be dramatically shortened by HR 360 if it is passed as it is currently written.

Senatory Jon Kyl, a Republican from Arizona is one of the most vocal supporters of the measure saying in part that the current unemployment law is not doing anything at all to get people back to work because it not only does not create new jobs but also allows people to remain off work for longer than they might if they were not getting a check.

But, opponents of the bill are quick to remind those supporters that unemployment is paid into by the very workers they are setting out to punish. The unemployment rate has improved in recent months but the job markets in some areas are notoriously slow to rebuild while the economy has severely impacted other industries. There are just not enough jobs to go around. According to numbers released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in October there were just over three million jobs filled but nearly fourteen million people out of work.

Previously, people who were out of work could go to local offices not only to file for their benefits but to make use of a number of other services including job search assistance and resume writing services. But, funding issues as well as increased demands for the services have destroyed them around the nation. While there are some local communities that do offer limited services of these nature, many of those are looking at closing their doors in the near future as well.

Opponents also warn that requiring enrollment in an adult education program is going to cause more problems in a system that is already strained. Those programs are reporting waiting lists in the thousands in every state. Again, lack of funding is keeping the programs from expanding to meet the growing needs. Statistically, nearly half of workers who are drawing unemployment are are forty five years old are without their high school diploma. The number jumps to thirty five percent for workers over age fifty.


Street Talk

No matter what education is really important. Haven't you notice now that most of the employer hired degree holder...but sometimes people can't go to school because of lack of money. People need to be prepared. Thanks ! Great article.

Reply
  about 7 years ago

That is true. I know a man who had to quit high school after his father died. His plan was to go back to school after his younger siblings graduated but by then, he had found a wife and was a father. He had a good job and no need for the diploma. He has worked hard all of his life- but now he is going to be penalized for choosing to care for his family over school?

Reply
  about 7 years ago

This is an absolute travesty what the government is doing to individuals who have already dedicated a lot of time to the work force. They should not be overlooked. Especially, since they too need to work to provide for themselves. Hopefully, Congress will realize this and make changes that benefits everyone and not just a select few.

Reply
  about 7 years ago

Yes, it is a sad fact that here in the US, workers over 50 yrs. are not valued and have a very difficult time finding employment. Unlike our parents, many of whom retired with a pension, working is an economic necessity for those of us over 50. It all comes down to money. Corporations can hire recent grads for half the salary they would pay for experienced workers. Don't see how adult education is going to change anything. I know at least 3 people over 50 who are unemployed who have a college degree!!

Reply
  about 7 years ago

Yes Joyce, that is sad. There was just a listing of some of the college degrees that are pretty much worthless these days, at least in terms of employment. Also, while there are many people who would be willing to go back for their GED, there are not enough spots in these programs to allow that to happen quickly. And, then there are others who will milk the system in every way that they can. In my area, I have personally seen people who draw SSI, get HUD housing and then work under the table so that they do not lose any of their benefits. These people are protecting from having to get their GED and yet, we do not go after reforms to that system- instead, it is unemployment because it plays better in the political speeches.

Reply
  about 7 years ago

Ja the same thing happened here in Ireland. Apparently there's no such thing as Ageism yet they are always the first they get rid of, including all their experience and expertise, but, it's a brave new world out there today. Look at it?

Reply
  about 7 years ago
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