Fighting Coronavirus Includes Helping Texans Find Work (press release from Sen. West’s office)

DALLAS – The true scope of the coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19) is becoming more evident with each passing day; possibly by the hour. At this reporting (3/19/20) nearly 11,900 cases of the virus have been confirmed nationwide. Across the U.S., some 170 lives have been lost. But there’s another side. Businesses – due to federal, state and local limits on public gatherings – have been dealt a stunning blow. Many, such as dining establishments and entertainment venues have been forced to shutter their doors. This means that thousands across Texas and millions across the country are suddenly finding themselves out of work.

According to the Texas Workforce Commission, over just two days, March 16 and 17 this week, nearly 20,000 Texans filed for unemployment benefits. Over a 7-day period in March 2019, fewer than 13,000 (12,858) Texas workers filed unemployment claims. And this may be the just the tip of the iceberg. Earlier this week, (March 17) Texas Governor Greg Abbott waived the normal 7-day wait period to be eligible to file for unemployment benefits. Now, Texans can file the same day they land out-of-work. This week, Texas Workforce’s online filing system was met with such demand that it crashed the site.

These are tough times for all, but help is on the way. Today, we made the short trip from the Texas Senate District office to the Red Bird location of Workforce Solution Greater Dallas to announce plans for a virtual hiring fair that will take place some time over the next two weeks, on a date to be announced.

The idea for a virtual hiring fair event is in keeping aligned with the federal, state and local push for social distancing, not having large numbers of people confined in enclosed spaces, which have proven even more conducive to the spread of the highly contagious COVID-19 virus. According to Workforce Solutions President Laurie Larrea, while many hospitality jobs have cut work hours and laid off workers, other industries like healthcare, grocers and those of logistics are looking to hire right now! If you are looking for work, or for information about the upcoming virtual hiring fair, go online and keep checking at www.wfsdallas.com, or www.WORKinTexas.com. Information on filing an unemployment claim can also be found by calling 800-939-6631.

The consequences posed by COVID-19 are harsh. Being out of work makes life even harder. Helping those unemployed to find work makes dark days a little brighter. Prayer and hope can light the way.