Florida unemployment office reducing number of call center employees

As Florida enters its fourth month under a crippled unemployment system, the state says it is reducing the number of call center contract workers.

According to a representative with the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, the state has ended its contract with two companies that were providing call center operators: AECOM and UDT.

The exact number of operators being let go was not disclosed, but a statement from a DEO spokesperson said 3,000 customer service representatives were still on the job.

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The DEO spokesperson told FOX 13 News, "... the Department is prioritizing vendors who have fully trained representatives to handle all claimant issues and are more proficient in the CONNECT system, are meeting or exceeding contractual performance expectations and providing high quality customer service to Floridians."

Additional call center employees were brought on after Florida's online CONNECT system buckled under record numbers of applicants during COVID-19 shutdowns.

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Gov. Ron DeSantis has described the CONNECT system, which then-Gov. Rick Scott paid $77 million to get online in 2013, as a “jalopy” but said the state was making "a lot of great progress" in getting checks out.

Lawmakers have called for a special legislative session to address the state's unemployment problems.

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