As of May 1, roughly 125 Park County residents were in line to lose unemployment insurance benefits after June 19.
During that week people who have maxed out unemployment benefits will receive their final checks. It comes at a time when many Cody businesses are desperate for more help.
Holly McKamey Simoni, Workforce Programs Administrator at the Wyoming Department of Workforce Services, said the 20 offices around the state are helping to connect those still on unemployment insurance with employers.
“Workforce centers can really help them with that. These skills can transfer to this industry, take a deep dive into those transferrable skills, people don’t recognize that sometimes,” she said. “Unemployment insurance was really meant to be a short-term solution at a given time. It wasn’t meant for large amounts of people to be on for a long time.”
That’s where federal programs stepped in to expand how long people could get benefits, enhance the checks received and allow more people into the program.
As of May 1, 101 county residents were enrolled in the program that extended unemployment an additional 13 weeks – it’s normally 26 weeks. As well, 25 gig workers or others who wouldn’t normally qualify were drawing unemployment insurance, while 157 residents were receiving the additional federal money on top of the normal unemployment benefit.
Last month, Gov. Mark Gordon announced he would be pulling Wyoming out of the federal programs early due to the plummeting unemployment rate and abundance of job openings.
The state has already reinstated the requirement that those on unemployment perform two work searches per week. Work searches include filling out an application or sending in a resume.
People who have been on unemployment at least the last 26 weeks will be ineligible for the benefit for quite awhile once they stop receiving checks.
While unemployment insurance is individualized so every claimants situation is different, Simoni said, in general if someone has exhausted all UI benefits, then goes back to work making $12 an hour, it’s going to take approximately 18 months from the time those wages show up in their base period for them to qualify for UI again.
She said DWS has been working with employers to connect them with qualified employees, as well as helping to retrain employees who don’t already possess the specific skills.
“We’ve recognized that unemployment is very individualized, everybody’s situation is different,” she said. “Maybe there are child care issues, medical issues. We’ve got lots of resources and services. We want to help.”
DWS offers business-training grants that can assist employers with training their employees. For more information, visit wyomingworkforce.org/businesses/wdtf/faq/.