Job Creation

Not since the Great Depression has job creation been such a priority. The creation of “shovel ready” projects by the current administration and this Congress, has done little to produce meaningful, well paying, long-term jobs. And let’s face it, not everyone wants to be a construction worker or run internet cable lines!

The sad truth is that corporate America benefits greatly from high unemployment rates. How?

  • Since competition is high for jobs, they can get experienced workers and pay inexperienced wages.

  • To avoid offering health insurance, the corporations will typically offer 2 or more people part-time jobs instead of a single person a 40 hour work week.

  • For every job that is filled, there are about 50 people waiting in line to replace you. Knowing this, you work your tail off for modest rewards.

Expecting corporate America to suddenly change and begin to care about the welfare of our nation and its people, is like expecting a lion to become a vegetarian. Neither are very likely to happen.

It was within this backdrop that I conceived and subsequently created Job Action! (jobaction.org), the web site where YOU and millions of others like you from the USA and around the world can meet and create the economy of tomorrow by forming collaborative or co-op ventures. In most instances you’ll discover that all it takes is a few like-minded people with a good idea and applicable job skills to create meaningful and rewarding opportunities. The site is loaded with how-to resources and is 100% free to use.

Job ACTION!, creating tomorrow’s economy today, one collaborative at a time. Click Here to read Terry Moller’s excellent paper about Mondragon – the Seventh largest corporation in Spain with 90,000+ worker-owners.

Free For Three

New businesses are most likely to fail within the first 3 years of operation. My ‘Free for 3’ plan would give a helping hand to new start-ups by delaying the need to pay ANY state or federal taxes for the first 3 years that the business has 3 or more full-time employees. Note:  This could mean the business is in its 2nd year of operation, or later, when they first qualify.

Lump & Jump

For those that have been unfortunate to lose their job, but have in mind an idea to start their own business, ‘Lump & Jump’ could be exactly the helping hand you’ve been waiting for.  Lump & Jump would give you the option to receive your unemployment benefit insurance check in a single lump-sum payment AFTER you have completed a business entrepreneurship and business planning course taught by your local Employment Division.  Additionally you would be assisted with the process of raising capital, applying for SBA loans and learning about worker-owned cooperatives as an alternative business structure.

Voucher Economic Stimulus Program (VESP)

The Voucher Economic Stimulus Program (VESP) idea was inspired by a good friend who owns a sizable auto repair business in Leicester, MA.  Former candidate for US Senate Alan Khazei had a similar idea.  It’s widely recognized – and discussed by people such as self-made millionaire Nick Hanauer – that the “1%” are not the job creators and that any hiring is done so as a last resort, and very reluctantly.

From my experience as a former business owner this is very true as hiring and training new people is an expensive proposition and one that is undertaken only when there isn’t sufficient manpower to satisfy demand.  But what if there was a genuine monetary incentive for employee AND employer to find each other and fill jobs and/or otherwise foster economic expansion?

If you’re unemployed through no fault of your own, you qualify for several weeks of unemployment insurance benefits calculated on a percentage of your prior earnings.  For example, “Brenda” lost her job when the division she worked for was sold to a larger competitor.  Based on her salary, she qualifies to receive $300 per week for 26 weeks as her unemployment benefit.  Therefore, the total outlay for those 26 weeks is $300 x 26 = $7,800.

Under the VESP plan, Brenda is given a voucher stating the week her unemployment benefits started and the weekly amount.  If Brenda is ambitious — and lucky — enough to land a new job before she receives a single check from unemployment, in exchange for hiring her Brenda’s new employer would receive a lump sum payment for her full unemployment of $7,800.

As each week goes by depleting Brenda’s pool of insurance benefits, so too does the amount available to a prospective employer.

There’s incentive for both prospective employee and employer in this plan.  “Brenda” has an additional incentive to return to work more quickly while her voucher has its greater value in order to regain employment benefits such as better pay, health insurance and paid time off. The employer is incentivized to hire Brenda because the lump sum payment the state would provide can be used for anything her employer chooses such as equipment, inventory, advertising, etc.  At the very least, it would help defray the costs of training the newly hired.

It’s important to note that the most any employer would be permitted to receive in a voucher payment would be the 26-week equivalent of unemployment benefits for that individual.  Considering that various states currently offer extended benefits, this is potentially an enormous savings in unemployment tax revenues that could be allocated to better training the long-term unemployed.

These are some basic rules to which the prospective employer and employee would have to adhere:

Employer:
1. Qualifying employers must be able to demonstrate that they have been in operation for no less than 3 years or must escrow 50% of voucher funds during the voucher period.  In the event of business closure voucher funds may not be included as part of bankruptcy assets, personal or otherwise.

2. Employees hired from a sister company or subdivision are not eligible for the voucher program.

3. The employer who provides training in order for the newly-hired employee to acquire a new skill set can receive twice the voucher value. (Proof required).

4. If the employer terminates the voucher-hired employee prior to the end of the voucher period, he has 10 business days to return all remaining voucher funds to the state unemployment division.

5. The employer may not replace an existing employee with a “voucher hire:”  there must be a demonstrated net gain in total employees.

6. There is no limit as to the number of voucher-hires an employer can make.

7. The maximum voucher value is based on a 26-week unemployment benefits equivalent.

8. Both employer and employee are required to sign-off on a voucher payment authorization so that voucher funds can be distributed to the employer within the first two weeks of employment or by the first pay date AFTER any probationary period, whichever is sooner.

9. Neither employer nor employee are permitted to sign-off during any trial or probationary period.

10. If the probationary/trial period ends without full retention of the intended voucher-hire, the employer does not receive any funds.

11. The employer must be able to show pertinent documentation leading to hire. e.g., employee’s resume, email communications, employment application, etc.

12. In the event the employee voluntarily leaves the position through no cause of the employer, the employer may keep any remaining voucher monies.

13. In the event employment is terminated by the employer due to a justifiable cause, any remaining voucher funds must be remitted to state’s unemployment division within 10 business days of separation.

14. Worker-owned cooperatives may accept voucher monies as full or partial investment by a new cooperative member.  Cooperatives must declare the investment requirement for shared ownership along with other documentation as stated above. No excess funds will be distributed.

15. A worker-owner who leaves a cooperative may not take his/her investment funds.  The cooperative is responsible for returning any such funds to state’s unemployment division within 10 business days of separation.

Employee:
1. The worker is eligible for the voucher program a maximum of two times during any calendar year.

2. The employee may sign-off on voucher only after the new job’s trial or probationary period has ended.

3. At no time is the employee permitted to receive voucher funds in a lump sum from the employer, either during employment or upon termination.

4. The worker may use voucher funds to invest in a worker-owned cooperative. Voucher funds that exceed the investment requirement will not be distributed to either the employee or the employer.

5. A worker-owner who leaves a cooperative may not take his/her investment funds. The cooperative is responsible for returning any such funds to the state’s unemployment division with 10 business days.

6. The worker may use the voucher program at any time during initial or subsequent unemployment benefit distribution cycles.