TAMPA, Fla. - The irony is devastating – an organization dedicated to job placement is now helping the community sign up for unemployment.
“It’s a shift, not just in functionality, but for a lack of a better word, what our mission is,” said CEO John Flanagan.
At Wednesday morning’s Hillsborough County Commission Meeting, Commissioner Sandra Murman spoke of the CareerSource Tampa Bay’s transition.
“You have been doing your best to talk with everybody in the community that’s trying to file a claim, who are getting frustrated and exasperated because Tallahassee wasn’t responding,” she said.
Flanagan presented the latest unemployment claims. “As it relates to the state of Florida, 552,000 new claims filed in the last three weeks, Hillsborough County represents 6.9 percent of that, approximately 38,125 new claims have been approved through the connect system,” he said.
Flanagan said the numbers aren’t surprising, given the nearly total shutdown of the economy.
“We basically asked businesses to stop doing business, so that’s going to translate to a massive amount of their workforce not having a job,” he said.
Wednesday, commissioners voted unanimously to approve a plan for workforce development services and programs within Hillsborough County through June 2024.
Since switching gears three weeks ago, Flanagan said they’re welcoming the community and providing assistance. The only thing they can’t do is file the claim for you.
“We can answer some frequently asked questions,” he said. The state has given us the opportunity to help with pin resets, which accounts for 40 percent of the call traffic too. I believe we have six people trained in our area to help with that function alone.”
He said with government systems and the public stressed in these times, they hope to be the source to ease the worries.
CareerSource Tampa has also extended its call center hours, from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. Monday-Friday, and 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday.
If you feel sick:
The Florida Department of Health has opened a COVID-19 Call Center at 1-866-779-6121. Agents will answer questions around the clock. Questions may also be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org. Email responses will be sent during call center hours.
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