Intro by Greg McBride, CFA, Senior Financial Analyst, Bankrate.com: With the national unemployment rate at 8.2%, jobs and unemployment are hot topics. One program, which made its debut in early 2012, is making an attempt to find people jobs while curbing unemployment spending. Up next, Lucas Wysocki takes a closer look.
Voice over: Americans collecting re-employment assistance, commonly called unemployment checks, have been receiving funny letters in the mail lately. The letters direct recipients to a workforce board for a 'skills review.' Fail to comply and your checks will stop coming.
Sound Bite, Mimi Coenen, Chief Operating Officer, Palm Beach Workforce Alliance:
"They go into a career one-stop or workforce alliance, and they have to share their work search with us. So they have to actually show their past two weeks' worth of work. And then there's certain steps that they're asking the workforce boards to do to help those folks get back into the workforce."
The Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012 prompted the implementation of the "Emergency Unemployment Compensation Reemployment Services Program", or EUC. Each state has its own version of the program which is designed "to ensure that those receiving federally subsidized benefits are availing themselves to reemployment services to return to suitable work as quickly as possible."
That's a mouthful! Here's how it works:
Once someone files for re-employment assistance, they'll likely receive the EUC letter in the mail.
Stop by a workforce board, typically a not-for-profit company that specializes in getting folks reemployed.
Sit down with a counselor and some classroom sessions to work on your resume, then go forth and look for jobs. 5 searches a week is the minimum.
Some beneficiaries see this as just another unnecessary hurdle before they can collect their benefits, but they quickly find that the program is working. In Florida, for example, the unemployment rate has dropped from 9 percent to 8.6 in just 6 months since its implementation.
Sound Bite, Suzie Urbaez, Bilingual Trainer, Palm Beach Workforce Alliance:
"So a lot of them do learn little things that they weren't even aware of and I have had some who come back saying 'Oh, I finally got an interview' or you know, 'I'm getting hired." So it's just kind of helping them out and finding out whether it's things that they're doing wrong, kind of, and fixing it."
Whether you're collecting re-employment assistance or not, the work boards are happy to help you polish your resume and start the hunt for a new job. They have classes, one-on-one coaches, computers and on-site interviews and hiring available to the public. And of course, if you're on a job hunt there are plenty of helpful tips and tricks here at Bankrate.com. I'm Lucas Wysocki.