On the 44th season of 60 Minutes, there was a segment in episode 22 that aired on February 19, 2012 which highlighted employers discriminating against the long-term unemployed. With so many Americans facing the difficulties of unemployment following the recession, many people became unemployed due to downsizing or companies closing their doors. While it is illegal for employers to discriminate due to race, religion, sex or even age; the 60 Minutes segment shed light on the fact that there are no real laws against discriminating against the longtime unemployed. At the time of the initial airing, the segment spoke about Congress considering passing a nationwide bill on making it illegal to discriminate against the longtime unemployed. Although it was stated that a handful of states already had laws against longtime unemployed discrimination, enforcing those laws is very difficult.
At the time of the February 2012 airing of the episode there were still 12 million Americans out of work and 4 million of them were categorized as the longtime unemployed. To help solve this crisis in America, Platform to Employment developed a five-week preparatory program that helps coach unemployed individuals back into the workforce while collaborating with local companies through work trials. This helps to gain experience, training and work references for the longtime unemployed and also gives companies the option whether or not to hire the employee for fulltime employment after the trial is over. The trial provides companies with subsidized wages for eight weeks funded through Carbone’s nonprofit company, The WorkPlace, Inc. The company raises money through private investors that target the longtime unemployed to help solve this dilemma in America. In February 2012, The WorkPlace, Inc. raised $500,000 and 60 Minutes interviewer, Scott Pelley, reported of the 100 longtime unemployed who enrolled in the Platform to Employment program, 70 acquired working positions.
In the eleven months since this 60 Minutes segment aired, Platform to America has continued to grow. The success of the program has allowed for expansion to ten cities across the U.S. and is finding support through the AARP Foundation, Citi Community Development and the Walmart Foundation. The website states, “The WorkPlace developed Platform to Employment (P2E) to address the need for the long term unemployed to return to work and the employer need to recruit skilled workers. The program is a public-private partnership which gives businesses a risk-free opportunity to evaluate and consider hiring participants during an eight-week work experience program.” The current status of the program offers recruitment for participants in Dallas and Cincinnati. For those interested in applying online, Platform to Employment will be accepting online applications from January 2, 2013 to January 16, 2013 in Dallas and January 15, 2013 to January 29, 2013 in Cincinnati.
With almost a year passing since the initial broadcast of the 60 Minutes segment regarding unemployment in America, it’s interesting to note the statistics in unemployment in America today. The most recent Employment Situation Summary released by the United States Department of Labor for the Bureau of Labor Statistics states the new statistics through December 2012. It states, “The number of unemployed persons, at 12.2 million, was little changed in December. The unemployment rate held at 7.8 percent and has been at or near that level since September. In December, the number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) was essentially unchanged at 4.8 million and accounted for 39.1 percent of the unemployed.”
While there are programs out there to help the longtime unemployed and even the Huffington Post reported, “U.S. employers added 155,000 jobs in December,” the overall unemployment rate in America is unchanged.
You can view the entire 60 Minutes video at the following link: