Your Aug. 22 front-page article "State makes little use of U.S. jobs program" mischaracterizes the subsidized jobs programs created with federal dollars from the TANF Emergency Fund. In this economy, placing 1,000 adults in jobs is a major accomplishment, especially when you are starting from scratch and have only a short window in which to operate the program.
The release of the state's job numbers last Friday suggests that proven public investments in job creation are needed to get the state economy back in the business of growing jobs. More detailed analysis of this program in North Carolina and nationwide finds that these public dollars go a long way to supporting the growth of private small businesses. When coupled with efforts to put more money in the pockets of working families, such job-creation strategies can support the recovery of the more than 750,000 jobs North Carolina will need to reach pre-recession employment levels by 2015.
The states' use of TANF Emergency Funds is a bright spot in an otherwise dismal economic situation, and extension of the program should be a priority when Congress returns this fall.
Alexandra Forter Sirota
The writer is a policy analyst with the N.C. Justice Center.