Iowa Workforce Development’s new unemployment process begins today.
IWD deputy director, Ryan West, says a new focus on unemployment targets the importance of getting people back into the workforce. “Just a better opportunity to get folks into a career path that maybe they’ve already been in or a different one that they didn’t know they were eligible for,” he says.
West says they’ve added 18 new career planners to help people when they file their first unemployment claim so they have direct assistance and guidance right away.
“Everybody’s story is different. You may have somebody who hasn’t been out of a job in 20 years. I may be somebody who has been out of a job a couple of times in the last year. You know, we try to teach each one with dignity and helping them and not having some of that fear — because there’s a lot that goes into it when you are out of work,” West says.
The change also requires double what they call “reemployment activities” necessary to maintain unemployment claims. “Going from two reemployment activities slash work searches per week to four. And we really lay out what those different definitions and opportunities are at our IowaWorforceDevelopment.gov website. You can go to that and it’s going to show you what those are. And we break them down,” according to West.
West says they hope to make it faster and easier for people to find jobs. “You know it’s really a job seeker’s opportunity right now. What you may be eligible to qualify and get into career-wise now may not have been the case just 18 months ago based on where we are,” West says. “It’s a different time and we really want to help folks guide a lot quicker into the opportunities so that they don’t sit out there and start to linger and that starts to add up.”
West says there are thousands of jobs available in Iowa despite the low unemployment rate.