Mayor aggressively pushing jobs program

Mayor Gavin Newsom will lobby to extend a federal program that temporarily pays employers 100 percent of a newly hired worker’s salary.

The JobsNow program is funded by federal stimulus dollars and offers to pay all of a worker’s salary through September, except for benefits.

Employers are also required to pay payroll taxes for the employees.

The new hire must have a dependent, including spouse or child, but that dependent does not have to live with the worker for the employee to receive program benefits, Newsom said.

The program is particularly geared toward those who are laid off. A resident must go through a screening process, and city officials help place them in jobs that fit their skill sets and offer competitive pay.

The City has put around 1,200 residents back to work as part of the program, and is seeking to place an additional 1,300 participants before the funds expire in September, the Mayor’s Office said.

The Obama administration has praised The City’s handling of the program, Newsom said.

The mayor said Thursday he wants to lobby federal lawmakers to extend the program past the September deadline and broaden its pool of applicants to include single adults without dependents.

Many cities are missing out on the $1.8 billion that has been set aside for California to pay for the hires, he said. People either don’t know about JobsNow or believe there’s a catch, he said.

“We just need businesses to take us seriously,” Newsom said.

To prove the program is relatively hassle- and catch-free, Newsom held a news conference Thursday at a business in the Bayview called Laundry Locker that is benefiting from JobsNow.

Arik Levy, founder and CEO of Laundry Locker, said the JobsNow “couldn’t be easier,” that reimbursements following a new hire came about two weeks later and that the program has helped his business grow by more than 30 percent in recent months.

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