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Movers & Shakers April 22, 2010

| April 22, 2010 9:00 PM

Experience Works gets Earthy

In recognition of Earth Day 2010, Experience Works, Inc., has announced that it will launch a new program to promote green jobs for older Americans. Funded by a $100,000 Green Jobs Capacity grant from the U.S. Department of Labor, the program will train staff members to identify green job training and employment opportunities for older workers in Idaho.

Experience Works is the nation's largest nonprofit training and employment organization for older workers. It currently operates the Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP) in 30 states, including Idaho, and Puerto Rico.

"Experience Works and SCSEP participants have a legacy of working to improve the environment," said Billy Wooten, executive director of program operations for Experience Works. "From the very beginning, our participants have worked to beautify and improve parks, historical sites and recreational areas. We look forward to continuing those efforts while expanding new opportunities in the field of recycling and other green industries."

Founded in 1965 as Green Thumb, the program was part of President Lyndon Johnson's War on Poverty. Two of the program's strongest supporters were Lady Bird Johnson and the founder of Earth Day, Wisconsin Senator Gaylord Nelson.

Through the SCSEP, Experience Works assists low-income older people in Idaho with self-assessments, technical and skills training, the job search process, and finding an appropriate training assignment with a local community service agency. The goal is to provide participants with the skills and tools to transition from their community service assignments to permanent employment with a local employer.

For more information about the SCSEP and Experience Works, call (866) 397-9757 or log on to www.experienceworks.org.

Credit card rules changing

Gov. Butch Otter has declared April as "Financial Literacy Month." The Department of Finance will issue a "Tip of the Week" each week during the month. For a calendar of Financial Literacy Month events, visit the Department's Web site at http://finance.idaho.gov.

The Smart Consumer Tip this week offers Idaho consumers some basic information about their rights under the new Federal Credit Card Act of 2009.

"Living on a budget that incorporates a strategy to pay down credit card debt is one of the most important steps a consumer can take toward attaining financial stability," Idaho Department of Finance Director Gavin Gee said.

The new federal laws are aimed at enhancing consumer protection and are being implemented over a period of several months. Consumers soon will be seeing a "new look" when they open their billing statements. The new disclosures will clearly demonstrate to consumers the high costs associated with making only the minimum payment each month on their credit card debt. The new law does not apply to business and corporate credit cards.

The new billing statements include requirements that, among other things, will:

• Limit fees such as those charged when consumers exceed their credit limits or pay bills online or by phone.

• Restrict issuing and marketing credit cards to young adults and on college campuses. Starting Feb. 22, anyone under 21 must get an adult to co-sign on the account if they want to open their own credit card accounts or show proof that they have an independent means to repay the card debt themselves.

• Ban a practice called double-cycle billing, in which card issuers charge interest over two billing cycles rather than one.

• Prevent credit card issuers from allocating monthly payments in ways that maximize interest charges to consumers. A payment, which is over the minimum payment due, must be applied to the account with the higher interest rate.

• Limit upfront fees charged on subprime credit cards issued to people with bad credit.

• Ban shifting due dates so that payments will be due on the same day every month.

• Require consumers to "opt-in" to over-limit protection while fees for exceeding a credit limit must be "reasonable."

Gift cards also are addressed by the new law. There now are limits on fees that can be charged on inactive or dormant gift cards. Also, conventional gift cards must be good for at least five years, not the typical 12 months.

To learn more about the new Credit Card Act of 2009, visit the Federal Reserve Board's "consumer information link" found on the Department of Finance's website at http://finance.idaho.gov.

If you have a new, relocated or expanded business, or announcement of events, promotions or awards, The Press wants to let our readers know. The service is free and items run Tuesday through Saturday. To get the word on the street on your movers and shakers, call city editor Bill Buley at 664-8176 Ext. 2016 or e-mail bbuley@cdapress.com.

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