Governor Ted Kulongoski announced an emergency jobs program at The Portland City Club on Friday, the same day the state economist released the latest revenue forecast (pdf) showing a budget deficit of almost $4 billion. Pending legislative approval, his plan would create thousands of new, temporary jobs almost immediately. Many of the jobs, he explained, are for the summer months. They’ll pay between $8.40 and $10.00 an hour and last between one and six months. If you do some quick math that averages about $7,500 per job.
According to Worksource Oregon, 81,000 Oregonians are currently unemployed and looking for entry level positions, but only 700 postions are currently available in the state. This plan would increase that to 12,000. New jobs would be provided at the Oregon Food Bank, The Oregon Youth Conservation Corps, The Oregon Department of Forestry and Agriculture, and at cities and towns across the state. All the funding would come from the Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund and the program would be managed by Worksource Oregon.
Critics argue that this plan basically just makes people work for the unemployment benefits they are currently receiving. Kulongoski says this will provide needed jobs for unemployed people and services to our local communities.
Are you unemployed? Will you apply for one of these jobs? Are you someone who will potentially employ people in one of these positions? What do you think of this plan?