One of the most serious consequences of the economic and financial crisis started in Spain at the end of 2007 is the high rate of unemployment. Since the beginning of the crisis, the unemployment rate has bee above 20%, reaching a maximum of 27% in the first quarter of 2013. Even more problematic is the fact that a large proportion of the unemployed have been without a job for more than one year (a 53.4% in the third quarter of 2014). There is no doubt that the lack of work and job opportunities over a long period of time have sever economic and social effects on the affected population. Long-term unemployment clearly contribute to the persistence of poverty and marginalization and justify the decisive action of governments to design the appropriate labor market policies. The main goal of our project is to identify the characteristics of long-term unemployed and evaluate the results of a job search counseling program funded by Caritas Barcelona and managed by a private company (Ingeus). Participation in the program is voluntary and open to all eligible individuals. Namely, long-term unemployed with a high risk of poverty and social exclusion. Invididuals participate in the program for six moths. Participation in the program does not only implies the attendance of training courses but also participants have a personal advisor that guides them throught the process of fidning a job.Our projecte evaluates the impact of this intensive job search program on the duration of unemployemnt and future job search prospectes of the participants. In doing so we conduct personal interviews at the beginning of the program and six months after. We then apply statistical program evaluation techniques to quantify the impact of the policy. We certaintly believe that the results of this study can be very useful in the design of public employment policies.
Our research project is clearly related to SDG target number 8. A large propotion of unemployed individuals in Spain are unable to find jobs after a long period of time (more than a year). It has been document that the probability to find a decent employment increases with unemployment duration. The intensive job search assistance program “Feina amb Cor” supported by Caritas is clearly design ot help individuals with a high probability of social and economic exclusion to improve their labor market prospects. A decent job is a necessary condition to avoid deprivation and poverty and to reduce inequality among the current and future generations.
Since it started in 2012 each month about 100 individuals enter the intensive job search program “Feina amb Cor”. They are assigned a mentor that analyses the personal situation and assist the participants in finding a job. The program consists not only of job training program but also personal and economic support to restaure the self-confidence of the participants. To be eligible for the program, individuals should have been unemployed for a long period of time and do not receive any time of financial assistance. Most of the beneficiaris are immigrants or nationals very close to the poverty line and with a high probability of suffering social exclusion and deprivation.