Reposted from Union Leader
Six weeks may seem like a long time for a job interview, but for people who have found employment through New Hampshire’s Return to Work Initiative, that interview may have been worth every minute.
Last winter, Lisa Eaton suddenly found herself unemployed — she was laid off from her job with a manufacturing company in Manchester. It was during a visit to her local NHWorks office — she went there every day — that she discovered the Return to Work program.
Return to Work matches an unemployed worker with a company that’s looking for help. The worker and the company agree to a no-strings-attached training period of up to 24 hours per week for six weeks. If they qualify for unemployment benefits, the workers can continue to receive that benefit during the training period, which is unpaid by the prospective employer.
“It is my favorite re-employment tool that we have,” said Tara Reardon, commissioner of the Department of Employment Security. “It gives both the job seeker and the employer a chance to see if it’s a good fit. It really works for the business and it really works for the job seekers.”
Since the program was introduced in 2010, 335 people, including Eaton, have found permanent jobs through Return to Work.
Eaton is now working at the headquarters of Prudential Verani Realty in Londonderry. John Verani said the company had just created a new position in the relocation department and supervisor Jennifer Frost was looking for the perfect candidate. She connected with Arlene Murphy at NHWorks in Manchester, who recommended she try recruiting through the Return to Work program, and that’s how Frost found Eaton.
“There was no risk for either of us,” said Eaton. “It was a trial run.”
In May that trial run became a full-time job.
“Lisa has worked out wonderfully,” said Verani.
Murphy said the trial runs are exactly why the Return to Work program has been successful.
“It gets people in the door so that they can prove what they can do,” she said. “This thing works. It absolutely works.”
Since the program’s start, more than 500 people have taken advantage of it and 335 of them now have permanent full-time jobs, said Reardon.
“That’s a 65 percent success rate,” she said.
And because the program falls under the auspices of the current Employment Security structure, the cost is minimal — around $11,000 a year, she said, and costs are low for employers, too.
By NANCY BEAN FOSTER
Union Leader Correspondent
Full article here