Alert! A jobs program that actually leads to jobs!

Elana Levin: Why does the government support jobs programs for the unemployed that lead to dead-end, short-term jobs?
{by my co-worker Sarah Solon} The New York Times runs an editorial today that makes a very important argument: government programs that aim to funnel people into jobs need to include training that will actually make people employable, and hopefully employable in the long term.

Sounds simple. Jobs programs should train people for jobs. Better still: jobs programs should train people for jobs that are in demand.

But somewhere along the way this straightforward logic is abandoned.

"Too often," the editorialsays, "the government treats such [job training programs] like arbitrary hoops for the unemployed to jump through if they expect to receive unemployment benefits." What results is a cyclical trap, people going through job programs without gaining any new training, and thus unable to land the jobs that will allow them to leave poverty and unemployment benefits behind. Instead, these people are left jumping through hoops.
Elana Levin is Communications Manager at The Drum Major Institute for Public Policy, a progressive policy think tank. She also is Managing Editor of the DMIblog