Problem #1: Unemployment is skyrocketing in the US and has been for the last year and a half.
Problem #2: Companies can find cheaper labor overseas, so they outsource a lot of work that used to be done by Americans, leaving the unemployed with the need to find another way to fit into the labor pool.
Problem #3: A lot of the existing jobs require certifications that are expensive to obtain, but not time-intensive.
My Solution: Why don’t Cisco, Microsoft, Six Sigma and some of the other credentialing agencies partner with state departments of labor to create a program in which the unemployed pay a small fee to enroll in a credentialing course? Even if the department of labor covers a couple hundred dollars of the cost, they’ll pay fewer months of unemployment benefits, saving money in the end. Their expenditure might even be billable to the participant once he or she gains employment.
What the DOL gets out of it: Lowered unemployment statewide, saving money and resources.
What the unemployed participant gets out of it: Highly recognized credential that makes him or her much more marketable in the job field.
What Cisco and/or Six Sigma (and others) get out of it: Stellar PR for responding to the needs of the job market, and a more highly qualified job pool with greater diversity of skills.