Florida’s Genius Solution to Unemployment: Super-hero Capes

From the website of Workforce Central Florida.


Forget job retraining or back-to-school money or even another stimulus package. An employment center in central Florida has the answer to ending the Sunshine State’s chronic unemployment problem: Red super-hero capes.

Yes, that’s right. As WFTV Orlando reports, a new marketing initiative unveiled by an outfit called Workforce Central Florida (self-described as the “region’s workforce expert”) called the “Cape-ability Challenge” gives red capes to jobless Floridians as a way to boost their job-seeking prospects. The state-funded workforce organization reportedly spent $14,000 on 6,000 capes as part of the campaign, which a state workforce group called “insensitive and wasteful.” The capes fit in with Workforce Central Florida’s comic book-inspired campaign that features a villain named “Dr. Evil Unemployment.”

Now, the state is investigating Workforce Central Florida over the cape campaign. Hmm, wonder why. Here’s more from WFTV:

The newest allegation of misspending involves a marketing campaign, in which the chairman of the board for the job agency marches around in a super-hero cape.

[…]

Job-seekers such as Gregory Bryant said the capes are a waste of money and they’re offended by the cartoon-like portrayal of being unemployed.

“Would you wear this around?” WFTV reporter Bianca Castro asked Bryant.

“No, I mean, would you?” Bryant answered. “It’s a mockery to Americans.”

The bizarre campaign, however, didn’t last long. In a Wednesday press release, the group announced it was canning the cape idea, which it described as an “admittedly out-of-the-box creative campaign.”

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  • Andy Kroll

    Andy Kroll is an investigative reporter at Mother Jones. For more of his stories, click here. Follow him on Twitter here. Send tips, scoops, and documents to akroll (at) motherjones (dot) com.