Indiana to reinstate ‘weekly work search’ requirement for unemployment benefits

Coronavirus

INDIANAPOLIS — Governor Holcomb signed an executive order Tuesday which requires Indiana residents requesting unemployment benefits to be actively seeking full-time work.

Beginning June 1, the Indiana Department of Workforce Development (DWD) will again require a weekly work search report from Hoosiers applying for unemployment benefits.

Work search activities include applying for a job, attending a job fair, participating in a WorkOne orientation, or completing an online workshop.

Amid the coronavirus pandemic, the federal government previously authorized states to waive work search requirements during the height of the pandemic.

DWD said it will notify those affected about these changes to allow for preparation time. For more information on the state’s work search program, click here.

Hoosiers heading into the workforce is welcome news to thousands of employers looking for help, such as His Place Eatery along East 30th Street in Indianapolis. 

“There is a definitive need for both our front of the house and for our back of house staff. We’re hiring nearly every position,” Chef Kevin Fry of His Place Eatery said. “This place is a popular place. Everybody loves coming to eat here, and you know, with us being available to have more staff and solid workers that want to be here, that helps us to care for more people and give them great food and expand more as a business.”

Fry says the restaurant needs more help. They, like many other businesses, have had to shorten their hours because there simply aren’t enough employees to work them. 

“Essentially, we could be making a lot more money from this, but we can’t because we don’t want to push our staff further than they can, and we would love to be able to give them a break as well, but we need more staff to be able to do that,” Fry said. “The biggest reason, mostly it’s been, you know, issues with child care, with the way schools have still been as well. You know, they, a lot of moms or dads have had to stay home, so they’re not available to work.”

It’s a problem Executive Director of Women4Change Rima Shahid says disproportionately affects women. 

“Seven in 10 women right now are working mothers, and to be able to really sustain those women being in the workplace, we have to make sure we have affordable child care options, which we really don’t here in the state of Indiana,” Shahid said. “I recently spoke with a woman, and she asked the question that, ‘I don’t know what to do. Do I pay rent or do I buy food for my children?’ and that’s tough. That is the reality of what folks are going through.”

Hope is not lost. Vicki Lehman, Community engagement specialist at Child Care Answers, says there are programs in place to help Hoosiers find quality child care options. 

“Child care can be a huge barrier for families and caregivers and parents, and so it’s really about making sure that families and caregivers are able to get connected to the resources to help get them connected to child care providers, different resources and things like that that they might need to access in order to secure that child care so that then they can go ahead and secure their employment,” Lehman said. “One of the things that we do is work with parents and caregivers to help them find child care that will best meet their needs.”

Child Care Answers is one of five statewide agencies that help Hoosiers with this type of problem. It just so happens to be the child care resource center referral agency which serves Hamilton, Hendricks and Marion County. 

Every county in Indiana has a child care referral service, which can also help with Child Care Development Fund vouchers meant to help offset the financial burdens of child care. 

“That’s the goal, really. The goal for us is to meet families where they are and help meet their needs and get them connected. Helping them understand child care,” Lehman said. “We’re here to help, and so whatever we can do for families in the area that we serve we are here to help families.”

His Place Eatery is currently hiring prep cooks, fry cooks, line cooks, expos, dishwashers and servers with pay ranging from $13.00 to $16.00 per hour.

Apply in person or online at www.hisplaceeatery.com/careers

Click here to read the full executive order.

DWD said the following resources are available for Hoosiers looking to work. For more information, click the program title to take you to the website:

Workforce Ready Grant: Pays the tuition and fees for eligible high-value certificate programs at Ivy Tech Community College, Vincennes University, Indiana Institute of Technology, or other approved providers. 

Indiana Career Connect: Provides workforce services and tools to help employers connect with job-ready talent. 

Hoosier Talent Network: Job-matching and career-planning site powered by artificial intelligence to help Hoosiers find the right job and uncover new opportunities. 

180 Skills: Delivers high-quality, online, technical, employability, and compliance manufacturing skills training aligned with the needs of employers. 

InDemand Jobs: Focuses on high-demand, high-wage jobs for today and tomorrow. The demand indicator used is based on a methodology that ranks all Indiana jobs based on future growth and wages. 

Hoosiers by the Numbers: Premier source for labor market information for Indiana. 

Hoosiers can also visit their local WorkOne center to learn about reemployment services. WorkOne locations can be found here.

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