NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) -  The Department of Labor and Workforce Development announced they are shifting resources to help process unemployment claims. 

The department says to meet the current demand for unemployment benefits and address public health concerns, the Department will limit access to American Job Centers and shift resources to triple the number of staff trained to process claims applications. 

At the American Job Center in North Nashville Friday, it was a busy morning. The job center provides free help to job seekers. People like Aymn Gayd.

“I lost my job last Saturday,” Gayd said.

Gayd works in the restaurant industry, an industry struggling because of the coronavirus pandemic.

At this point, he’ll take anything to support his wife and four year old daughter.

“My mortgage! I have a house,” Gayd said.

The Department of Labor and Workforce Development wants to help those like Gayd get back on their feet.

To meet the current demand for unemployment benefits and address public health concerns, the Department will limit access to American Job Centers and shift resources to triple the number of staff trained to process claim applications.

Starting Monday, March 23, each American Job Center across Tennessee will begin limiting access to facilities and conduct business through phone and internet. This change will allow state-employed staff to switch their focus from workforce development tasks to claims processing.

Nearly 200 employees work inside Tennessee’s 23 comprehensive American Job Centers. This shift in job duties will bring the total number of staff focusing on unemployment to approximately 300, which is roughly one-third of the Department’s employees.

“As a Department, we are shifting resources to align with our greatest need,” said TDLWD Commissioner Jeff McCord. “The changes we are making will go a long way in keeping up with the demand created.”

Despite his stress Gayd remains optimistic.

“I think after summer comes, coronavirus is done,” Gayd said.

Allowing him to get out into the workforce and back to a normal life.

The Department of Labor & Workforce Development will extend customer service hours to 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. CT Monday through Friday to serve additional claimants.

The majority of employees processing claims will be able to work from home.

While access is limited at American Job Centers, job search assistance is available online and help is available via telephone. The state’s workforce development website provides a wide variety of virtual assistance tools, everything from tips on writing resumes, interviewing and means to view and apply for over 200,000 job vacancies.

 

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