Beth and Kimbell Fenske and their 7-year-old daughter are the very picture of a middle class family. They have a nice, small home, in a rural New Hampshire neighborhood and Kimble has good job. However, in 2009 all this was in real danger of no longer being true.
Kimbell was laid off from his job as a co-pilot for an international express mail services company. Though, he and Beth had planned and saved so that with unemployment benefits, his severance, and savings they could get by while he continued to job search. Health insurance became a serious cost problem. Their COBRA payments were going to be $1900 a month for their small family of three, putting a dent into both savings and into his unemployment insurance.
Fortunately for the Fenske’s, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act provided unemployed workers a COBRA subsidy. They were able to bring their COBRA payments back down to a manageable amount. Further, a fellow pilot made Kimball aware of the Workforce Investment Act that made funds available to workers for retraining. The Recovery Act provided $138 million so that Ohio (where Kimball worked at the time) could offer an addition 30,000 workers job training, job search assistance, youth employment programs, and more. Thanks to these funds Kimbell was able to pay for going back to flight school, become type certified in a Hawker 800, and was hired as a pilot by a jet charter management company.
There are many stories like Fenske’s across New Hampshire and the nation. Last week in Holland, Michigan, the President called on Americans to reach out to their members of Congress and urge them to take immediate steps to grow our economy, provisions like extending unemployment benefits to those still looking for work. Steps that will help more families like the Fenske’s get back on their feet. Learn more about these measures here.