Obama Administration Turns Focus to Jobs, Highlighting the 'Important Role of Job Clubs'

By Susan Jones | November 8, 2012 | 6:28 AM EST

One of many job hunters attends a Global Recruiting Solutions job fair in Livonia, Mich., on Sept. 29, 2010. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

(CNSNews.com) - Have you ever heard of the Obama administration's Office of Recovery for Auto Communities and Workers?

The obscure office on Thursday will join the Labor Department's Center for Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships in hosting a symposium on "the important role of job clubs and career ministries in getting Americans back to work."

The Labor Department, in a news release issued the day after Obama's election victory, said the symposium in Hales Corners, Wis., will highlight the work of local job clubs, including how they can be run effectively.

Job clubs and career ministries allow people who don’t have jobs to talk about jobs. They do not create jobs.

Instead, they bring unemployed people together, often in churches, community centers or public libraries, to share professional networks, learn the latest job search techniques and receive emotional support, the Labor Department said.

Job clubs are "one of the unsung heroes of our economic recovery," according to a recent blog from the Center for Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships.

"They offer practical and technical tools for a successful job search, including networking, social media training, and direct access to employers seeking qualified employees. But they also offer much more: fellowship, spiritual and emotional support, and confidence," the blog said.

President Obama's Office of Recovery for Auto Communities and Workers was formed in 2009 to assist communities affected by the downturn in the automotive industry. The office does not appear to be very busy. It issued its last report over a year ago; and the most recent press release posted on its website is dated Jan. 12, 2012.

As CNSNews.com reported last week, the long-term unemployment rate rose to 40.6 percent of the total unemployed in October, up from September’s level of 40.1 percent, according to a report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Long-term unemployment is unemployment lasting for 27 consecutive weeks or longer. The government reported that over 5 million people were unemployed for more than six months (27 weeks) in October, up from September’s level of 4.8 million.

In his stump speech on the campaign trail, president Obama admitted that he has "more work to do" on job creation: "As long as there’s a single American who wants a job but can’t find one, our work is not yet done," he said in various places.

In his election night speech, President Obama mentioned jobs only in passing: "You elected us to focus on your jobs, not ours," he said, adding later: "I believe we can build on the progress we’ve made, and continue to fight for new jobs, and new opportunity, and new security for the middle class."

Asked how he would create jobs at the first presidential debate, Obama indicated his plan rests on taxing more and spending more:

"I think we've got to invest in education and training. I think it's important for us to develop new sources of energy, here in America, and we change our tax code to make sure that were helping small businesses and  companies that are investing her in the United States; that we take some of the money we're saving as we wind down two wars to rebuild America, and that we reduce our deficit in a balanced way that allows us to make these critical investments."