SF's Jobs Now program loses federal funding

September 30, 2010 8:05:30 PM PDT
A quarter million people nationwide are likely losing their jobs because the multi-billion dollar federal stimulus program which 37 states used to hire the unemployed is ending. The loss of the program means the loss of funding for more than 4,000 jobs in San Francisco alone.

Thursday was the last day of work for Samantha O'Connell.

"I'm very sad and I'm kind of scared, really scared, too," she said.

Her paycheck at the San Francisco company Internet Archive was paid for by federal stimulus dollars. So were the salaries of 144 other employees there. That money dried up Thursday because Congress failed to act.

The company's director hopes he can afford to keep some of the workers.

"We're scurrying around trying to get emergency money to keep people going for a short amount of time," Robert Miller said. "Hopefully that will give Congress a chance to re-think their decision."

San Francisco channeled $50-$60 million of the federal dollars into a program it created called Jobs Now. Since May 2009, 800 employers have hired more than 4,000 people, all of them out of work parents

"It's outrageous really, that this is allowed to expire when it's proven to be the most successful stimulus program," Mayor Gavin Newsom said.

The owner of the Laundry Locker dry cleaners says having some of his workers salaries paid by the federal government has helped him double his revenues.

"Instead of hiring a new customer service person we're paying for, we're able to get a Jobs Now person to offset that money and we can reinvest into growing our business," Arik Levy said.

Laundry Locker has 5 employees hired though Jobs Now and all of them, including two women will be staying on.

"I know a lot of people who are looking for jobs and can't find them, so I'm very grateful," Michelle Singletary said.

Newsom believes at least half of the Jobs Now workers will lose their jobs by the first of the year. He is hoping to use $9 million in city funds to offer incentives to businesses to keep hiring.


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