Employment Incentives

COLUMBUS, GA (WXTX) - Georgia's new unemployment numbers released today tied the state's record high.  But, hope is not lost.

In fact, Georgia's labor commission is working on a group of programs designed to kick-start the economy and promote new businesses.

The program is still in the works, but in general, it will allow employers to hire more workers and put teenagers back in the mix.

When Joanne Williams lost her job she started up her own business in one of the hardest times to access credit.  Figuring out how to pay her new employees is a struggle. "You know, if you can't meet payroll, you can't stay open," says Williams.

A new state incentive program for employees might just be the help Williams' needs.

The program runs through the Georgia Department of Human Services and uses stimulus dollars to pay 80% of a worker's salary for as long as six months.

Commissioner B.J. Walker has already had several people interested in getting their hands on the money.

"Here's the irony about what we've been able to do, I had a man come up to me and he's going to have 20 jobs, he's in a start up.  I think that we forget in a recession it's a good time for starting up stuff. He's the second person in so many weeks who said, 'I'm starting up a business and I think this is a perfect opportunity,'" explains Walker.

The stimulus money is also set to help teenagers. Employers who hire them for summer help can get up to 100% of their salary subsidized.  The program is set to be used for teens who work from June 11st through the end of July.

Walker says, "In some ways these employers with employees coming on board to use our benefit to try out new people and bring their business up and as the business gets up and on its feet, these folks can shift to his regular payroll."

Williams says six months would be enough for her to save up and expand the business into her dream, "To small businesses it would be heavenly.  It would give us some relief because we can't borrow the money because everything has tightened up and everything else is so hard. It would be heaven to a small time person."

The state admits it hasn't figured out all the details and exact qualifications.  But, they are hopeful that this program will give Georgia's work force a boost.

Interested employers should contact Georgia's Department of Human Services through their web site http://www.dhr.state.ga.us/portal/site/DHS/ or emailing TANF-Employers@dhr.state.ga.us.