New Bill Requires WorkOne Face Time for Unemployment Recipients


A bill dealing with unemployment insurance is making its way through the House, but must be voted on one more time before it goes to the governor’s desk for his signature. House Bill 1457, authored by State Representative Dan Leonard of Huntington, passed out of the Senate with a 34-14 vote but will return to the House to allow them to review some small changes to other provisions in the bill.

The bill makes necessary changes in order to comply with federal regulations, requiring unemployment benefit recipients to participate in reemployment and eligibility assessment activities at a WorkOne Center. Currently, federally extended benefits – weeks 27-63 of benefits – require recipients to visit a WorkOne so that the staff can go over their resume, introduce them to their services, and make sure they are on the right back to reemployment.

Joe Frank, communications director for the Department of Workforce Development, said this bill makes those same requirements apply to the state benefits as well.

“What we’re doing through the legislature on the state side is the requirement in 1457 would be that folks who are on state unemployment insurance benefits – that’s the first week of benefits through week 26 – they’d be required to come in within the first four weeks to do the same activities, just so we can make sure that they’re going about their work search well, they know all of the tools that WorkOne can provide – the vast majority are free – just to make sure their work search is as successful as possible,” said Frank.

Frank said WorkOne offers a variety of services, including education and training programs, various free workshops that help people get back into the workforce, and a variety of job-searching and resume-building tips and assistance.

Frank said the ultimate goal of this legislation is to ensure that people are aware of what services WorkOne offers.

“Getting people into these reemployment services as quickly as possible is one of the most important things you can do to get people back to work,” Frank expressed.

The bill will be voted on once more by the House before being sent to Governor Mike Pence for his signature.