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A Local Stimulus Program that Works

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Nearly two years after America entered into a recession, joblessness continues to plague our working families. California, the largest economy in the United States, reported an unemployment rate of 12.5 percent last month.

Yesterday, in our nation's capitol President Obama convened a job summit with business leaders to find new ways to get Americans back to work. In San Francisco, we're already delivering solutions with a public-private partnership that is showing immediate, demonstrable results. More than 1,000 San Franciscans are now employed, thanks to JobsNowSF, a citywide program that provides federal stimulus dollars to businesses that hire local residents.

JobsNowSF pays the full wages of employees for a specified time period, often up to one year. Unemployed or under-employed heads of households who support at least one child under age 18 are eligible to participate in the program. Married couples with one "breadwinner" who have one or more child, and single parents who support at least one child also may qualify for JobsNowSF.

For San Francisco businesses like Internet Archive (a technology company creating a digital library) or non-profits like the YWCA, or a large retailer like Macy's, participating in JobsNowSF is a no brainer - it allows them to grow with very little risk.

Local companies access the program's pool of qualified trade and skilled workers. Workers complete JobsNowSF with a more stable employment history, leaving them better positioned to secure an unsubsidized job after September 30, 2010, when the stimulus funding expires.

Our early success suggests that this is a model that others should consider. It is, in every respect, a literal "stimulus" to recovery. We're helping employers by offsetting the direct cost of hiring new workers. And it is working. At the current wages and job placement trends, we project that JobsNowSF will pump more than $40 million of wages into the local economy.

As jobless numbers continue to climb, we need real solutions to alleviate the nation's economic woes. JobsNowSF focuses our resources on a single, core priority: job creation. And it does so in a uniquely entrepreneurial way.

In 2010 we are going to double the JobsNow program upping its participation to 2,000 workers--an achievement that will impact not just workers and their families, but our communities and our economy.

Public-private partnerships like JobsNowSF are models worthy of study by cities looking to get their citizens back on a path to self-suffiency. In San Francisco, we are demonstrating that aggressive, local action using federal stimulus funds can bring relief.

While it is clear that we cannot rely on these types of programs to solve our long-term economic problems, we should direct stimulus dollars in a way that will reach our hard working families. That's why I am calling on Congress to re-authorize funding for JobsNowSF and urging other cities to implement similar programs.

For more information visit the JobsNowSF web site or you can follow JobsNowSF on Twitter or Facebook.

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