President Obama on Saturday unveiled an unemployment insurance plan that he says will provide stability and opportunity to workers in a rapidly changing economy.
The president’s three-pronged plan includes wage insurance of up to $10,000 over two years, expanded unemployment insurance coverage and more opportunities for laid off workers to retrain and reenter the workforce.
“If a hardworking American loses her job, regardless of what state she lives in, we should make sure she can get unemployment insurance and some help to retrain for her next job,” Obama said in his weekly address.
“It’s a way to give families some stability and encourage folks to rejoin the workforce – because we shouldn’t just be talking about unemployment; we should be talking about reemployment,” he added.
“That’s when American works best – when everyone has opportunity; when everyone has security; and when everyone can contribute to this country we love.”
The plan comes on the heels of Obama’s final State of the Union address on Tuesday, in which he committed to fighting for expanded out-of-work benefits during his last year in office.
Despite shrinking unemployment numbers, the president said private-sector job growth is not enough.
He called for a program that would allow displaced workers making less than $50,000 to replace half of their lost wages, up to $10,000 over two years.
The plan would also extend benefits to part-time, low-income and intermittent workers who can’t already take advantage of the out-of-work programs. And it would mandate states provide at least 26 weeks of coverage for those looking for work.
Finally, the president’s proposal for retooling and retraining workers would incentivize states to offer relocation vouchers, subsidized employment and career counseling programs to unemployed workers.
“That’s how we make sure that hardworking families can get ahead,” Obama said. “And that’s what I’ll be fighting for with every last day of my presidency.”