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COVID-19 Update from your Local Workforce Solutions of West Texas

COVID-19 Update

April 1, 2020

All workforce centers in Abilene, Brownwood, Snyder and Sweetwater closed to the public effective Monday, March 30. Please feel free to post or share the attached flyer that identifies how customers can continue to connect with us.

Employer Services:

· JOBS NOW launched on Monday, March 30. This special webpage allows employers with immediate hiring needs to connect with job-seekers. Visit: www.workforcesystem.org/jobsnow to view the current job postings by county.

· Changes in the Texas Workforce Commission’s Mass Claims program now allow employers who must lay off 10 or more workers to file a mass claim in advance or after the layoff. Using this process allows employers to bypass the Unemployment Insurance claim process and move immediately to requesting payment through the on-line system. Employers using this process will respond to only one claim and may be protected from chargebacks related to COVID-19.

Job-seeker Services:

· The Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) has expanded operation hours for Unemployment Insurance Tele-Centers to 6 p.m. during the week and from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturdays. Two additional call centers will open this week and both local and state TWC employees have been reassigned to assist with claims processing.

· Our Employee Layoff Assistance page contains a step-by-step tutorial for applying for unemployment insurance as well as a variety of other resources related to job search, mortgage assistance and healthcare coverage.

Child Care Services:

· According to Child Care Licensing 22 of our 93 contracted child care providers across the region are temporarily closed as of today. A total of 51 of the 148 providers in the region are currently closed. In Taylor County, 25 of the 54 licensed providers are temporarily closed.

· Effective April 1, early childhood facilities with current contracts and referrals to serve children through our programs will be reimbursed based on the current referrals as of March 25. This will ensure that providers continue to receive payments, even if they have to close on a temporary basis.

· Effective April 1, we will cover the parent’s share of child care for families whose children would be or are in care. This will ease the potential burden for parents who may be unemployed or have reduced hours. This will also ensure that providers receive sufficient funds to maintain their operations.

· Pending approval of waivers by the federal government, we will be able to serve provide care for essential workers at no cost to eligible families. We’re also waiting for waivers to allow contracting with emergency centers that don’t meet minimum Child Care Licensing standards.

If you have any questions or need additional information regarding any of these items, please feel free to contact us at crisisresponse@workforcesystem.org. You may also reach out directly to Mary Ross, Executive Director, at 325-795-4301.

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© 2020 by the Abilene Chamber of Commerce

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