When will job centers open? DWD leaders weigh needs

Posted at 4:34 PM, Jun 24, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-24 17:34:11-04

MENASHA (NBC 26) -- Thousands of people in Wisconsin continue to need to file for unemployment insurance, and many others continue to need help finding another job.

The Department of Workforce Development has to balance both of those priorities.

During the coronavirus pandemic, the DWD has reassigned staff members that work in regional job centers to now answer phone calls with the state's unemployment insurance helplines.

That's left the job centers closed at a time many people could use the resources they provide. Anthony Snyder, CEO of the Fox Valley Workforce Development Board, estimates the job centers will open in August at the earliest.

"We want to get people back to work as fast as possible and if we need staff to do that, that's certainly going to weigh heavily on us, but also making sure the folks that have, if they're requiring additional services on the UI (unemployment insurance) side, we'll continue to weight that," DWD Secretary Caleb Frostman said. "Hopefully, when we move forward with job center reopenings, we'll have continued to have made great progress on the claims that have been held, so hopefully our position to send some of the job center staff back to their job center work."

Frostman said they'll continue to follow guidelines from the Badger Bounce Back plan about reopening the centers. He said many of the services offered at the job centers have continued in a virtual format.

"We've been really, really pleased at the success of the virtual services," Frostman said. "Obviously, there are certain things that just require a more personal, in person approach, but I think between re-employment services but then also more traditional job services like resume review, interview prep, helping folks register for, I think we're really pleased with how that's gone."

Frostman added that they want to do an all-encompassing approach to services to help people less familiar with technology or area's with less access to Internet.