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TheStreet Open House

Want Unemployment Benefits While Working?

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Want to try out a new job while receiving unemployment insurance? You might be in luck.

The Labor Department Thursday explained its new "Bridge to Work" program would allow states to submit "innovative" proposals to re-employ workers that would give them the option to stay on unemployment insurance. The department will select 10 states after a 30-day review process.

"The states will determine how they want to operate this in their application, but clearly one of the benefits is that they would be able to use money from their state unemployment insurance trust fund to provide the resources for their program," Labor Secretary Hilda Solis said in a conference call.

Gene Sperling, director of the National Economic Council, said on the call that this program would simply allow more options for people who receive unemployment insurance to connect with jobs and the work force.

The program is modeled after "Georgia Works," which was that state's plan that allowed people out of work to take temporary jobs to retain or gain new skills while they collected unemployment benefits.

As to how the trial will work, it's up to each state to figure out how it will deal with businesses or sectors that participate in the employment program, Solis said.

"It would be a priority for us for people to be long-term employed, so not just employed when they were under wage-subsidy," Solis said.

As for skills training, Solis said it is up to the states to determine if the business would pay for the training or if the government would subsidize it.

The plan, which Barack Obama negotiated with Capitol Hill Republicans, had support from GOP leadership -- House Speaker John Boehner and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor -- according to The Associated Press.

So we want to know: How would you run this trial program in your state? Tell us in the comments section below.

-- Written by Joe Deaux in New York.

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