Goodwill Job Connection Career Centers Ready to Assist with Re-Entry into Workforce
People who have been receiving pandemic unemployment benefits are facing a substantial decrease in income when weekly $600 payments from the federal government come to an end later this month. That is about a 64 percent reduction for those receiving the maximum benefit, as Georgia caps weekly state unemployment payments at $365.
The CARES Act, passed in March and currently benefitting nearly 31 million unemployed Americans, provided for $600 in federally funded weekly benefits. Many people mistakenly believe benefits will be paid through the month of July, but the U.S. Department of Labor clarified the schedule saying, “The (Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation) $600 can be paid for weeks ending no later than the week ending prior to Friday, July 31, 2020. For all states except (New York), that is Saturday, July 25th. New York’s end date is Sunday, July 26th.”
The federal supplement kept incomes at a stable level. With benefit amounts plummeting, weekly checks will only amount to about a third of what was earned on average before the pandemic.
“Even while people have been out of work, their incomes haven’t been significantly impacted yet,” noted James Stiff, president and CEO of Goodwill of Middle Georgia and the CSRA. “We know that with the decrease in unemployment benefits looming large, people are going to need education and career services to help them move on in their post-pandemic lives. Goodwill was built to help people find meaningful employment, and we stand ready to assist our neighbors who find themselves in need of new career paths.”
Virtual services from Goodwill’s Job Connection career centers are available at www.GoodwillWorks.org. Current Job Connection hours for in-person services are weekdays 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Beginning Monday, July 27, hours will be extended to 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Job Connection services, funded by sales in Goodwill’s retail stores, are offered at no cost to job seekers. Last year about 17,000 people in Goodwill’s service area benefitted from Job Connections services ranging from education and industry training certifications to job search and interview preparation assistance.
“When the federal unemployment benefits run out, there will be a surge of job seekers entering the changing market,” said Leah Pontani, vice president of career development at Goodwill of Middle Georgia and the CSRA. “There are jobs that simply don’t exist anymore, and many industries have different needs than they had before the pandemic. We are preparing people to get hired in careers that will provide them with long-term economic stability.”