Posts Tagged ‘Frank Woodbeck’

Federal Unemployment Program To Expire In January

By Nevada News Bureau Staff | 12:39 pm November 28th, 2012

CARSON CITY – A federal emergency unemployment benefit program will expire on Jan. 2, cutting off about 25,000 Nevadans from the program, a state agency reported today.

The federal Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC) program will expire unless Congress votes to extend the federal benefits as it has done in the past, said Renee Olson, administrator of the Employment Security Division of the Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation (DETR).

As a result, about 25,000 Nevadans currently receiving EUC will be abruptly cut off and each week another 1,000 claimants who are receiving regular unemployment, (which allows for a maximum of 26 weeks), will exhaust their benefits and not be able to move to the EUC program, Olson said.

However, claimants should continue to file their weekly claims so that benefits can be paid as quickly as possible if Congress does vote in favor of extending the EUC program, she added. There are nearly 32,000 people on the regular unemployment benefits program in Nevada.

“The last week payable for EUC benefits is December 29, 2012, which means those claimants on EUC will stop receiving benefits, even if they still have balances remaining on their claims,” Olson said. “In the past, claimants have been allowed to continue receiving benefits through the end of the tier they were in.”

Congress first enacted the federal benefits package in June 2008 in response to record high unemployment. Claimants currently qualify for a maximum of 73 weeks. In July of this year, the State Extended Benefits program ended, dropping the number of weeks from 99 to 79, then in September, six more weeks were cut, dropping the maximum weeks from 79 to 73.

Nevada’s unemployment rate is below its peak of 14 percent hit in October of 2010, but remains in double-digits as of October at 11.5 percent.

DETR Director Frank R. Woodbeck said the department is remaining diligent in its efforts to offer innovative training programs that will lead to positive employment outcomes for Nevada’s job seekers.

“We understand the severity of this situation and sympathize with our citizens who are still having a difficult time finding employment,” Woodbeck said. “I want to encourage these Nevadans to visit their nearest Nevada JobConnect office so that our counselors can assist them with job placement and training needs as they pursue gainful employment.

DETR Director Frank Woodbeck.

“Additionally, DETR is working tirelessly with the Governor’s Office on Economic Development and other partners to explore every opportunity to bring more industries to the state, while also creating training programs that will assist our job seekers in being prepared for a more diverse business environment,” he said.

Information on local support services may be obtained by calling 211; this is a centralized number for social support service directories.

Claimants are encouraged to visit DETR for updates on the status of the EUC program, as representatives in Telephone Claims Centers won’t be able to answer questions or provide any further information, Olson said.

Labor Department Rejects Proposed Nevada Workforce Investment Board Consolidation Plan

By Sean Whaley | 2:11 pm September 13th, 2012

CARSON CITY – The U.S. Department of Labor has rejected Nevada’s request for a waiver to consolidate its three workforce investment boards into one, due largely to opposition to the plan by the Southern Nevada panel.

Frank Woodbeck, director of the state Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation had proposed the plan to consolidate the three separate boards that oversee workforce development, which was expected to reduce administrative expenses by $5 million.

DETR Director Frank Woodbeck.

“The waiver request was submitted in July, and we received a response in August to our request and that request was denied,” he told the Governor’s Workforce Investment Board at its meeting today. “The denial was based on the fact that the members of the southern board were in opposition to the waiver and the consolidation.”

The Northern Nevada and state boards supported the consolidation effort.

But Woodbeck noted that the consolidation effort has produced some positive results, including a significant reduction in administrative expenses incurred by the southern Nevada board, called Workforce Connections, under the leadership of Executive Director Ardell Galbreth.

Galbreth, who took over initially as interim director in April, reduced several top six-figure salaries and the size of the agency’s staff by more than half.

Woodbeck said the effort at consolidation has improved communications between his agency and the two local boards.

“So the work at trying to do board consolidation, etc., has not gone for naught,” he said. “It has been successful to a great degree in that we have a much greater line of communication with the directors of the two local boards, and I think we’ll make progress as time goes on.”

Woodbeck, with Gov. Brian Sandoval’s support, had sought the consolidation in part because of excessive administrative costs identified in audits of Workforce Connections.

The most recent audit, performed by the state Division of Internal Audits and released in May, found that Workforce Connections spent nearly twice as much on administration and monitoring of its programs than its northern counterpart.

More than $27 million in federal job training funds were awarded to the two local workforce development boards by the Board of Examiners in August, before the decision on the waiver had been made by the U.S. Department of Labor. The Southern Nevada board received more than $19 million in funding for the coming two years.

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Audio clips:

DETR Director Frank Woodbeck said the effort to consolidate the workforce boards has been rejected:

091312Woodbeck1 :15 and the consolidation.”

But Woodbeck says the effort has produced some positive results:

091312Woodbeck2 :20 time goes on.”

 

Local Workforce Boards Awarded Funding Despite Ongoing Concerns Over Excessive Administrative Costs

By Sean Whaley | 4:50 pm August 14th, 2012

CARSON CITY – More than $27 million in federal job training funds were awarded to two local workforce development boards by the Board of Examiners today despite ongoing concerns about how the money is being spent by the Southern Nevada board, called Workforce Connections.

The Southern Nevada board will get more than $19 million in funding over the next two years despite the findings in an audit released earlier this year that it was spending nearly twice as much on administration and monitoring of programs than its Northern Nevada counterpart, Nevadaworks.

Dennis Perea, deputy director of the Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation (DETR), told the Board of Examiners that the funds are being awarded to the two local boards until such time as the U.S. Department of Labor grants a waiver to the state to have the funds administered instead by one statewide board. That decision is expected within the month, he said.

Gov. Brian Sandoval, a member of the Board of Examiners, asked for assurances from Perea that the money would be spent on job training efforts and not excessive administrative expenses.

Sandoval and DETR are pushing for the new funding distribution plan that would replace the two local boards.

“There’s a lot of money involved here in these contracts, and are you confident that if these contracts were to be approved that the dollars would be spent wisely?” he asked Perea. “There was an audit, it didn’t go well. It sounds like there hasn’t been much improvement.”

Perea said the new management at Workforce Connections has made improvements, but there are still concerns about the amount of money being spent on administrative expenses.

“They are budgeting at about 20 percent of the funds being held at the board level for board expenses,” he said. “We’re in the process of talking about ways to limit that even further. But we do believe they are moving in the right direction, maybe not quick enough.”

The contracts were in front of the Board of Examiners because the two local boards are the vehicles to spend the job training funds at the current time, Perea said.

After the meeting, Perea said that if the waiver is approved by the U.S. Department of Labor, the grant funding would be redirected to a newly constituted state workforce board, possibly as early as January. The grant funds are paid out as they are spent by the local workforce boards, and so a transition would occur redirecting the funding to the new state board, he said.

The statewide and Northern Nevada workforce boards have approved the new proposal from DETR to administer the funds through one statewide board, but Workforce Connections has opposed the recommendation.

“As we sit here today we need to approve these contracts to get the money out because at the end of the day we need to help people,” Sandoval said. “But I just want, I’ve said this before, I want to make sure as many possible dollars get to the people that actually need it, than having it all eaten up with administration.”

DETR Director Frank Woodbeck has proposed the plan to consolidate the three separate boards that oversee workforce development into one, which is expected to result in $5 million more in federal funds directed annually to helping train job seekers to find employment.

The plan, “Moving Nevada Forward: A Plan For Excellence in Workforce Development,” was submitted to the Department of Labor last month.

Currently, funding is provided from the federal Department of Labor to the Governor’s Workforce Investment Board and funneled to the two local boards. These boards in turn contract with public and private organizations to offer workforce training programs to youth and adult and dislocated workers.

But a recent audit of this system by the state Division of Internal Audits revealed that too many federal dollars are lost to administrative and duplicative costs.

“This new plan will result in a significant amount of funds being spent directly for much-needed services, as we are essentially removing an administrative layer of expense,” Woodbeck said when the plan was released in May. “Administrative functions would be moved to DETR and community service providers will continue to deliver direct services to job seekers.”

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Audio clips:

Gov. Brian Sandoval asks for assurances the money will be spent appropriately:

081412Sandoval1 :20 be spent wisely?”

Sandoval says the money has to get into the hands of those people who actually need it:

081412Sandoval2 :17 up with administration.”

DETR Deputy Director Dennis Perea says too much money is still being spent on administration by the Southern Nevada board:

081412Perea :12 that even further.”

 

 

 

State Workforce Consolidation Plan Gains Support From Northern Nevada Elected Officials

By Sean Whaley | 3:35 pm June 20th, 2012

CARSON CITY – Local elected officials representing the Northern Nevada workforce development agency have endorsed a plan to restructure the delivery of job training funds to Nevadans, including eliminating the two local boards now involved in the process.

The 13 local elected officials who oversee the northern agency, called Nevadaworks, have unanimously endorsed the consolidation plan put forward by Frank R. Woodbeck, director of the Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation (DETR). If approved, the changes are expected to free up $5 million for job training that is now consumed by administrative costs incurred by the two local boards.

“On behalf of the local elected officials of the 13 Northern Nevada counties represented by Nevadaworks, please accept this letter in support of your agency’s plan,” said Norman Frey, chairman of the Nevadaworks board and a Churchill County commissioner, in a letter sent to Woodbeck on June 11.

The statewide Governor’s Workforce Investment Board has also unanimously supported the consolidation plan, which will require a waiver from the U.S. Department of Labor.

Elected officials representing the Southern Nevada workforce agency, called Workforce Connections, are opposing the consolidation effort, however, citing concerns over local control and the potential loss of job training funds in the south.

Gov. Brian Sandoval is strongly in support of the consolidation effort

In an Op-ed column published earlier this month in the Nevada Appeal, he said the plan will not change the structure of the workforce investment areas (one north and one south); and will not change the allocation of funding to the areas, which is set by the Department of Labor.

“This new plan calls for greater collaboration between workforce development and the newly restructured Governor’s Office Economic Development, which earlier this year released its plan under the ‘Moving Nevada Forward’ label as well,” he said. “A key area of focus for my administration is building the type of trained workforce that will support economic diversification.”

Woodbeck said he is pursing the consolidation, outlined in a plan called “Moving Nevada Forward – A Plan for Excellence in Workforce Development” in part because of excessive administrative costs identified in audits of Workforce Connections.

The most recent audit, performed by the state Division of Internal Audits, found that Workforce Connections spent nearly twice as much on administration and monitoring of its programs than its northern counterpart.

But it is also about efficiency and linking job training with the state’s new plan for economic diversification and job growth, he said.

Ardell Galbreth, interim executive director of Workforce Connections since April, has testified that he has made numerous spending reductions at the agency as a result of the audit, including eliminating staff and reducing several six-figure salaries.

Woodbeck said the consolidation plan calls for significant change

Woodbeck said in a telephone interview today that he would like to have the support of both local boards in seeking the waiver from the Department of Labor, but that he will move forward regardless. The wavier will be filed July 1 along with the state’s plan, with a decision expected by the fall.

“Efficiency and effectiveness is really what we’re trying to achieve here,” Woodbeck said. “And it is a change in the system. And when you change anything, people get a little nervous about that.”

The two local boards have been in existence since the Workforce Investment Act was signed into law in 1998.

The consolidation, if approved, will still keep local elected officials involved in the process, including representation on the governor’s board and on the seven Industry Sector Councils created as part of Sandoval’s overall economic diversification and development strategy, he said.

“So it’s really a transferring of the expertise, essentially,” Woodbeck said. “To either the governor’s board or to the Industry Sector Councils. And in fact the governor has agreed to expand the number of local elected officials on the Governor’s Workforce Investment Board. So they will really be the oversight folks and they will have four local elected officials on there from various regions.”

Currently, funding is provided from the federal Department of Labor to the Governor’s Workforce Investment Board and funneled to two local boards, one in Southern Nevada and the other in Northern Nevada. These boards in turn contract with public and private organizations to offer workforce training programs to youth and adult and dislocated workers.

Funding would continue to flow to these public and private organizations under the new consolidation plan.

The U.S. Department of Labor provided about $29.5 million in fiscal year 2011 to Nevada for the programs that are intended to help improve the employability of participants, including both youth and adults.

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Audio clips:

DETR Director Frank Woodbeck says change is not always easy:

062012Woodbeck1 :10 nervous about that.”

Woodbeck says Gov. Brian Sandoval has agreed to expand local elected representation on the state investment board:

062012Woodbeck2 :26 from various regions.”

Nevada Unemployment Falls To 11.6 Percent In May, Lowest In Three Years

By Sean Whaley | 10:13 am June 15th, 2012

CARSON CITY – Nevada’s unemployment rate fell to 11.6 percent in May, the lowest it has been in three years, the state Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation (DETR) reported today.

The drop of one-tenth of a percentage point in the seasonally adjusted rate from April is the ninth consecutive month that the rate has shown improvement, said DETR Chief Economist Bill Anderson.

Construction workers. / Paul Keheler via Wikimedia Commons.

While an improvement, Anderson again noted in the May report that part of the drop is due to people giving up looking for work.

“Nevada is experiencing some welcomed improvement in the jobless outlook, but it’s important to note that the decline is partly due to the diminishing labor force,” he said. “Fewer people are looking for work as they continue to find it difficult to obtain employment in the current market. Nevertheless, trends do indicate that Nevada’s labor market is slowly rebounding.”

Gov. Brian Sandoval acknowledged that Nevada’s unemployment rate remains significantly high, with 158,300 Nevadans who are currently unemployed, but said he is optimistic about improvement in the job market.

“I am encouraged by this month’s jobs report,” Sandoval said. “With another month of positive news, we are beginning to see several sectors of our economy grow. While these are strong signs, we must continue to help our economy strengthen by cultivating new businesses and expanding those already here.”

While not directly comparable to the state’s seasonally adjusted figure, the unemployment rate in each of the state’s three metropolitan areas held relatively steady, in May, Anderson said. Las Vegas has the highest jobless rate amongst the state’s three population centers, at 11.8 percent, with Carson City’s rate slightly lower at 11.7 and Reno at 11.5 percent.

Seven counties, all of them rural, have single-digit unemployment rates on a year-to-date basis, with the lowest rates in Lander, Eureka, and Esmeralda. Lyon (16.3 percent so far this year) and Nye (14.9 percent) have the highest jobless rates.

Statewide April job estimates have been revised upward by 700, and a seasonally adjusted 5,900 jobs were added to payrolls in May, the second-strongest month-to-month gain this year. At a seasonally adjusted 1.14 million, job readings stand at their second-highest level in nearly three years and are up 12,700 from a year ago, Anderson said.

Nearly all industries in Nevada reported positive results in May, but year-to-date results helps to shed light on underlying trends, Anderson said. Through the first five months of 2012, nonfarm job levels in Nevada stand 9,000 higher than a year ago.

As for some of the state’s major industries, leisure/hospitality has added 10,000 payroll jobs so far this year. Recent trends in the trade/transportation/utilities industries have been fairly strong, leaving job levels in the first five months of the year up by 2,300 compared to 2011.

Professional/business services establishments have added 1,800 jobs over the same period.  Mining-related jobs have averaged 15,500 so far this year, up by 2,300 (or 17.4 percent) from 2011. Strong underlying fundamentals in this industry have certainly contributed to the relatively low unemployment rates in several of the state’s rural counties.

DETR Director Frank R. Woodbeck said that with the unemployment rate improving, the agency will continue to support Sandoval’s efforts to attract new businesses and build a workforce to support the state’s improving economy.

“We are working diligently to further develop Nevada’s workforce system through strengthened partnerships with the business community and greater alignment with higher education, Woodbeck said. “We are exploring every opportunity to continue preparing individuals for careers that will be in higher demand as employers gain confidence to add more jobs and see the benefits of locating operations in Nevada.”

The slowing improving jobs market in Nevada comes as the state is preparing to pay more than $22 million at the end of the month to the federal government as an interest payment on money borrowed to pay unemployment claims. The state has borrowed nearly $700 million from the federal government to date to pay benefits.

Another interest payment of $40 million, which is coming out of the state’s general fund, will be due next fiscal year. The borrowing was made necessary because the unemployment tax rate charged to Nevada’s employers has been inadequate to cover unemployment benefits.

The loan is not expected to be paid off until 2018.

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Audio clips:

DETR Chief Economist Bill Anderson says the May report is fairly encouraging:

061512Anderson1 :20 ninth straight month.”

Anderson says the rate of improvement in the labor markets will continue to be modest, however:

061512Anderson2 :26 be relatively modest.”

 

State Workforce Board Approves Consolidation Plan Opposed By Southern Nevada Officials

By Sean Whaley | 3:32 pm June 14th, 2012

CARSON CITY – The Governor’s Workforce Investment Board today unanimously approved a plan to consolidate two local boards in an effort to free up $5 million in federal funds to train the unemployed.

The move, which requires approval from the U.S. Department of Labor, is opposed by Workforce Connections, the Southern Nevada workforce investment board.

The vote came after Ardell Galbreth, interim executive director of the local board, restated his opposition to the proposal, which was developed after an audit identified excessive spending by the local board on administrative costs. Other Southern Nevada officials also oppose the move, and they expressed their opposition at a public hearing on Monday.

Frank Woodbeck, director of the Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation (DETR), said the proposal to consolidate the two local boards with the state board will be submitted to the Department of Labor by the end of the month. A decision is expected by the end of the year, he said.

DETR Director Frank Woodbeck.

Woodbeck said it wasn’t just the most recent audit, but earlier reports that also identified concerns, which led to the decision to move forward with consolidation.

“So it was after long deliberation, and after a history of facts, that we reached this particular conclusion,” he said.

“This new plan will result in a significant amount of funds being spent directly for much-needed services, as we are essentially removing an administrative layer of expense,” Woodbeck said when the consolidation plan was announced last month.

Galbreth, who has been interim director of Workforce Connections only since April, has taken a number of actions to reduce administrative costs, including reducing the staff from 72 to 34.

Galbreth read a letter at the meeting of the state board, saying the state plan prepared by DETR has many good elements.

“However, with considerable thought and all due respect to the governor and the state officials, the Southern Nevada Workforce Investment Area Chief Local Elected Official Consortium strongly opposes the state plan to establish a single, consolidated workforce investment board to oversee the delivery of statewide workforce development services,” he said.

Concerns are whether Southern Nevada will continue to receive a full share of funding under the new configuration, and the view that local control of the funds is superior to having the money distributed by a statewide board, Galbreth said.

Assemblywoman Marilyn Kirkpatrick, D-North Las Vegas, a member of the state board, questioned why local officials would oppose the plan.

“The dollars need to get out to the community,” she said.

Gov. Brian Sandoval is moving forward with the proposal despite the opposition, saying the consolidation will put more money into efforts to train the unemployed to find jobs.

The audit found that Workforce Connections spent nearly twice as much on administration and monitoring of its programs than its northern counterpart. Following the release of the audit, DETR announced its plan to consolidate the two local boards with the state board.

Currently, funding is provided from the federal Department of Labor to the Governor’s Workforce Investment Board and funneled to two local boards, one in Southern Nevada and the other in Northern Nevada. These boards in turn contract with public and private organizations to offer workforce training programs to youth and adult and dislocated workers.

The U.S. Department of Labor provided about $29.5 million in fiscal year 2011 to Nevada for the programs that supported over 26,000 participants. The programs are intended to help improve the employability of participants.

In announcing the plan to change the operation of the boards, Sandoval said: “This new plan calls for greater collaboration between workforce development and the newly restructured Governor’s Office Economic Development, which earlier this year released its plan under the ‘Moving Nevada Forward’ label as well. A key area of focus for my administration is building the type of trained workforce that will support economic diversification.”

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Audio clips:

Ardell Galbreth, interim executive director of Workforce Connections, says Southern Nevada officials oppose the consolidation plan:

061412Galbreth :22 workforce development services.”

Frank Woodbeck, director of the Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation (DETR), says it was not just the recent audit but previous findings that led to the proposal:

061412Woodbeck :07 this particular conclusion.”

State Announces Plans To Consolidate Workforce Investment Boards

By Sean Whaley | 12:52 pm May 8th, 2012

CARSON CITY – A state agency announced today it plans to consolidate three separate boards that oversee workforce development into one, resulting in $5 million more in federal funds directed annually to helping train job seekers to find employment.

The plan, “Moving Nevada Forward: A Plan For Excellence in Workforce Development,” was released by the Nevada Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation (DETR).

Currently, funding is provided from the federal Department of Labor to the Governor’s Workforce Investment Board and funneled to two local boards, one in Southern Nevada and the other in Northern Nevada. These boards in turn contract with public and private organizations to offer workforce training programs to youth and adult and dislocated workers.

But a recent audit of this system by the state Division of Internal Audits revealed that too many federal dollars are lost to administrative and duplicative costs.

“I have charged everyone in my administration with looking closely at the functions of their offices, boards and commissions to eliminate duplications and streamline services with the goal of leveraging resources already available and trimming unnecessary overhead,” Gov. Brian Sandoval said. “This new plan calls for greater collaboration between workforce development and the newly restructured Governor’s Office Economic Development, which earlier this year released its plan under the ‘Moving Nevada Forward’ label as well. A key area of focus for my administration is building the type of trained workforce that will support economic diversification.”

Organizations currently contracted as service providers to citizens for workforce needs will continue in the same capacity, but will be managed by DETR staff instead of the northern and southern board offices. Federal funding designated for each of the local workforce investment areas will remain unchanged; no geographic area of the state gains or loses under the reorganization and existing providers can remain in place if they are delivering the appropriate level of service to the end-user.

“This new plan will result in a significant amount of funds being spent directly for much-needed services, as we are essentially removing an administrative layer of expense,” DETR Director Frank R. Woodbeck said. “Administrative functions would be moved to DETR and community service providers will continue to deliver direct services to job seekers.”

The restructuring is expected to be complete by December 2012.

The audit of the state’s two local workforce investment boards found the Southern Nevada agency spent nearly twice as much on administration and monitoring of its programs than its northern counterpart.

If the southern board cut its local expenses to mirror those of the northern Nevada board, another $1.9 million would have been available to job seekers in fiscal year 2011, the review found. The audit showed the Southern Nevada board, called Workforce Connections, spent 21 percent on administration and monitoring compared to only 11.3 percent in the north.

Ardell Galbreth, interim executive director of Workforce Connections, said that major changes have been implemented to reduce administrative and other costs. He took the position on April 5.

Galbreth said last week the 2012 budget has been revised to ensure that no more than 20 percent of the funding will go to program and administrative costs. The staff of 72 at the board is also being reduced to 34 by the end of the year if not before, he said.

 

Big Changes Made To Emergency Unemployment Compensation Program

By Nevada News Bureau Staff | 1:57 pm April 12th, 2012

CARSON CITY – A state agency today reported that significant changes have been made to the unemployment insurance benefit structure affecting both current and future recipients.

In February 2012, federal legislation extended the Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC) program through December 2012. The recent change in federal law will affect nearly 75,000 Nevada claimants who currently receive, as well as those who may file, for EUC, said Renee Olson, administrator for the state Employment Security Division.

The changes affect how work searches are documented and the number of weeks claimants can receive EUC benefits. Recipients will now be required to attend a reemployment services orientation as well, she said.

Californians who lost jobs due to freeze. / Photo courtesy of FEMA.

Under the new regulations, all individuals filing new EUC claims, or transitioning from EUC Tier I to Tier II, must participate in reemployment eligibility assessment and reemployment services programs.

“The purpose of the orientation is to ensure job search compliance, assist claimants with their reemployment efforts and improve the likelihood of claimants securing new employment,” Olson said. “If selected to participate in these services and an individual fails to comply, benefits must be denied. All EUC claimants will receive a letter providing specific details on the reemployment service orientation and work search requirements.”

An appointment notice will be mailed to EUC claimants to advise them of their mandatory orientation session with the time and location of the orientation. All individuals receiving EUC must complete and document two to three substantive work searches each week for submission and review by division representatives at the orientation event. Failure to attend the scheduled orientation or provide adequate proof of work search is cause to terminate unemployment benefits.

“The changes to the regulations are designed to transition individuals from unemployment benefits to gainful employment,” said Frank Woodbeck, director of the Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation (DETR). “In doing so, we will rebuild our economy, as well as provide individuals with a more permanent income. We will remain diligent in helping our customers become job ready and in supporting them in reaching their career goals.”

One portion of the regulation won’t take effect until September 2012. At that time, the number of weeks a recipient can receive benefits will be reduced to a maximum of 73 weeks, down from the 99-week maximum that has been in place since 2009.

The federal legislation did not add additional funds for those who have already exhausted their unemployment benefits, Olson said.

 

Jobless Claimants Who Had Problems Filing For Benefits Urged To Re-file

By Nevada News Bureau Staff | 2:18 pm January 12th, 2012

CARSON CITY – A computer glitch that caused some jobless benefit recipients to have their claims mistakenly rejected this week has been fixed, and claimants who had problems are encouraged to re-file using the state’s website.

Claimants should go online to file their claims as soon as possible, said Frank Woodbeck, director of the Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation (DETR). The telephone claims center will still accept claims, but due to the already high call volume, claimants may experience longer than usual hold times, he said.

DETR Director Frank Woodbeck.

“Staff worked during the night to correct the problem that may cause some claimants to receive their benefits about two days late,” he said. “We understand the magnitude of this situation as so many depend on unemployment benefits for their livelihood during this tough economic climate.

“We are in the midst of a five-year overhaul of our computer system, but in the meantime, we continue to struggle with 30-year-old technology, that unfortunately doesn’t function well 100 percent of the time,” Woodbeck said.

The agency on Tuesday discovered a computer error that was causing issues processing claims for benefits for this week.

There are currently about 86,000 people who received unemployment benefits weekly. The department traditionally receives a greater number of calls than usual, during this post-holiday season, which is further causing delays for callers accessing the telephone claims system.

The Unemployment Insurance Call Center hours have been extended as a result of computer system issues and a seasonal increase in demand by our customers. However, the center will be closed, as will all state offices, on Monday in observance of the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday.

All calls received prior to 5 p.m. each day will receive assistance from one of our customer agents. The Unemployment Insurance Call Center will be accepting calls Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.