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State program kept 32,000 employed

Washington's Shared-Work Program kept 32,000 workers on the job in 2010, a record and up 10,000 from 2009, the Employment Security Department said today.

The department also estimated the program, which replaces some wages of full-time workers whose hours were cut, saved the state about $34 million that would have been paid out to those workers had they instead collected the average 20 weeks of unemployment benefits.

Huntwood Industries in Liberty Lake was among the 3,700 employers approved for the program.

"The Shared Work program has helped us retain our valued workers during these challenging economic times," said Richard Gobble, a human resources specialist with the cabinet maker.

Last year, 2,700 businesses qualified, and 22,000 jobs were saved, the department said.

ESD Commissioner Paul Trause encourage more employers to participate.

"Shared Work has been a difference-maker for thousands of struggling business and workers in Washington," he said.


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Bert Caldwell
Bert Caldwell oversees production of the opinion pages, including writing editorials, and editing and selecting letters, columns and cartoons.