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Jobs program set to expire soon

September 2, 2010 7:55:22 PM PDT
A federally funded jobs program that has put nearly a quarter of a million Americans back to work since it began last year is set to expire at the end of this month unless Congress re-authorizes the money to pay for it. Now, San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom and members of the business community are launching a campaign to try to persuade Congress to do exactly that.

A Chevron station is one of hundreds of companies participating in a San Francisco program called Jobs Now. They use federal stimulus dollars to hire workers and that funding pays their salaries.

There are 3,820 San Franciscans enrolled in Jobs Now, including Mario Castillo.

"I'll be so blessed, what I have," says Castillo.

But Castillo's blessing, his job, and the jobs of others could soon be over. The federal program is set to expire at the end of September. The U.S. House of Representatives has voted to extend it, but the Senate has not.

Nearly a quarter million Americans in 37 states are affected. Newsom points to the thousands in his city alone. He says the welfare rolls have been cut 20 percent in nine months.

"This benefits business, this benefits families, and it benefits county welfare rolls. It reduces the cost to government, increases economic growth and private sector development," says Newsom.

Newsom is now leading a coalition of his counterparts in other cities including New York and Chicago to lobby Congress.

There is also another effort involving the director of Internet Archives, where 145 Jobs Now participants work. Robert Miller is contacting other businesses in 10 key states to target lawmakers.

"We're starting an online campaign to petition senators in each state, not only from an employee's side, but from a business side. Let us create more jobs," says Miller.

Congress returns from recess next week.


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