After the Orlando Sentinel published a story last Friday about how Workforce Central Florida, a federally-funded jobs agency, was spending $73,000 on a PR campaign including $14,000 on 6,000 superhero capes to give away to jobless residents, the agency has killed the program.
The concept was meant to “generate awareness of WFC and our programs” according to agency vice president Kimberly Sullivan. Unemployed residents of central Florida could win a cape or prize package (including gift cards and $125 worth of resume paper) by becoming a WFC fan on Facebook, taking the “What kind of Superhero Are You?” quiz, or posing for a photo with a foam cutout of “Dr. Evil Unemployment” (cost for cutouts: $2,300).
The unemployed didn’t think it was so super.
On Monday, the state of Florida launched an investigation into the program, with the director of Florida’s unemployment program saying the spending appeared to be “insensitive and wasteful.” Two days ago, WFC pulled the plug.
“Workforce Central Florida has listened to the public, and will be withdrawing our admittedly out-of-the-box creative campaign, ‘Cape-A-Bility Challenge’ later today,” Board Chairman Owen Wentworth said in a statement obtained by the Sentinel. “Even though it seemed to offend some, it was the farthest thing from our intention, which was to introduce our programs and services to job seekers and employers who need them.”
One final problem: The 6,000 capes, emblazoned with Workforce Central Florida’s logo, are not returnable.