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Originally published Sunday, May 18, 2014 at 4:03 PM

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Editorial: Some reprieve for state’s long-term unemployed

Washington’s jobs are increasing, but thousands of unemployed citizens have been left behind.


Seattle Times Editorial

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A NEW jobs report paints a rosy but incomplete picture of Washington’s rebounding economy. Though the statewide unemployment rate has dropped to 6.1 percent, thousands still can’t find work.

The vast majority of jobs created in April — 7,100 out of 7,700 — came from King and Snohomish counties alone, according to a Seattle Times news report.

Yet more than 21,000 residents in King County remain among the long-term unemployed, meaning they have been actively seeking work for 27 weeks or longer.

That sobering bit of context underscores the importance of a $4 million grant program announced last week by Gov. Jay Inslee and the Employment Security Department.

State officials transferred money from a federal mass-layoff fund to 12 workforce-development sites, with the explicit purpose of getting the long-term unemployed back to work.

Marlena Sessions, chief executive officer of the Workforce Development Council of Seattle-King County, says her agency will invest $986,000 toward “intensive” programs proven to work. This includes “job clubs,” where peers meet over several weeks to update résumés, find leads, improve interviewing skills and support each other during an emotionally difficult time.

She emphasizes that many of the 500 people expected to sign up for help in King County are highly qualified applicants who lost jobs during the economic downtown. The gaps in their résumés might not reflect their abilities.

Employers should give the long-term unemployed a fair shot at becoming self-sufficient again.

For more information, visit go2worksource.com.

Editorial board members are editorial page editor Kate Riley, Frank A. Blethen, Ryan Blethen, Sharon Pian Chan, Lance Dickie, Jonathan Martin, Erik Smith, Thanh Tan, William K. Blethen (emeritus) and Robert C. Blethen (emeritus).



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