Freddie Mac is launching a new program to help job seekers in rural areas find employment, in partnership with the job-hunting company NextJob.
The program is open to homeowners whose mortgage was obtained under Freddie’s Home Possible program, with the aim of increasing their re-employment prospects following a job loss, reduced hours or other “employment challenges” that have threatened their ability to keep up with the mortgage payments. The program is also open to aspiring homeowners who wish to increase their income or find a job, in order to be able to qualify for the Home Possible program.
Those who sign up for the program will receive one-on-one coaching from NextJob’s experts, and gain access to “Job Talk” webinars and online job search training programs.
“While some parts of the country are benefiting from low unemployment rates, many rural areas continue to see limited opportunities and flattening or declining wage growth,” Mike Dawson, vice president of single-family affordable lending strategies and initiatives at Freddie Mac, explained. “Through our work with NextJob, and by partnering with leading local organizations on the front lines of this problem, we are capitalizing on the success of our past employment programs to help the next frontier of unmet workforce development needs. This partnership will provide a meaningful opportunity to create and sustain homeownership for families across rural America.”
Freddie Mac previously launched a pilot of the re-employment program with NextJob in 2015. Under that program, participants managed to increase their job search skills by 32 percent, while acquiring jobs at three times the rate of “normal re-employment”, Freddie Mac said. The average borrower in the pilot program acquired new or better-paid employment within four months.
The program is under Freddie Mac’s Duty to Serve initiative, which is aimed at helping distressed homeowners in underserved markets.