For Immediate Release:
NEW BRUNSWICK – Governor Jon S. Corzine today unveiled the nation’s first statewide effort to provide job creation incentives specifically for those workers who have exhausted all state and federal unemployment insurance benefits. The RETURN-to-Work program is designed to help get long-term unemployed New Jerseyans back on the payroll and into jobs while assisting employers grow their businesses by hiring new workers. Employers would receive up to $2,400 per newly hired employee.
“Nearly a year ago, New Jersey made history by launching the first-in-the-nation economic recovery plan, one that focused on providing a safety net for those hit hardest by the recession, providing for long-term recovery, and creating jobs for the working families of New Jersey,” Governor Corzine said. “These are the tools necessary to provide New Jersey families with a strong economic foundation, and the ability to provide their children a stable and secure future. Today, we are once again announcing a first-of-its-kind program, an initiative designed to get the long-term unemployed back to work and provide New Jersey businesses with eager, productive employees to facilitate expansions designed to capitalize on the economic recovery.”
The RETURN (Re-Employment Training for Unemployed Residents of New Jersey)-to-Work program will offer “on-the-job” training grants to help employers cover the costs of training newly-hired workers who have been unable to find jobs and who have exhausted all extended unemployment insurance benefits. Private sector employers will be reimbursed for up to $5 per hour to help defray the extraordinary costs of on-the-job training, for up to $2,400 per newly hired employee. The jobs must pay at least $15 per hour and the employer must retain these workers in their jobs for at least six months. Jobs that qualify for RETURN-to-Work grants must increase an employer’s total workforce and the new hires cannot displace existing workers.
“Governor Corzine understands that all unemployed workers still need assistance during these difficult times,” said Labor Commissioner David J. Socolow. “That is why he is implementing this first-of-its-kind initiative to encourage employers to hire long-term unemployed workers who have run out of all unemployment insurance benefits.”
Individuals who exhaust all of their state and federal unemployment insurance benefits are now being informed of their eligibility for RETURN-to-Work by the Department of Labor and Workforce Development. This week, more than 40,000 New Jerseyans are receiving program notification.
In a letter to Congress last week, Governor Corzine urged the federal government to pass legislation to provide additional extended benefits to workers who have already or soon will run out of all unemployment benefits, as well as continuing the current extended benefits programs for thousands more who are expected to exhaust their benefits in the coming months. Today, the U.S. Senate Finance Committee is holding a hearing on this important priority. These benefits have provided vital income support to millions of workers while helping to stabilize the economy.
“By providing for families and for businesses during these challenging economic times, we are balancing the needs of the present with the promise of the future,” added Governor Corzine. “I believe this is the right thing to do for New Jersey.”
Eligible individuals can find more information about RETURN-to-Work and other programs and services online at www.nj.gov/jobseekers. Employers can access information online at www.nj.gov/labor/employers.