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Ohio Means Jobs shifts resources online as jobless claims surge

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Posted at 6:41 PM, Apr 25, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-25 23:20:53-04

CLEVELAND — Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, more Ohioans have filed for unemployment insurance than in the past two years combined. The economic impact from the coronavirus is far from over. To help those looking for work, Ohio Means Jobs Cleveland-Cuyahoga County is transitioning its job-seeking and resume-building resources online.

Potential job seekers can find available positions, access online training, build career profiles and resumes, in addition to searching for scholarships on OMJCC's website. Frank Brickner, the interim CEO for OMJCC, said the agency has these new priorities amid the pending economic downtown to address a new and changing demand by job seekers and employers.

"The public needs us right now. They're looking for work. They needed jobs and we're there to assist them. When we closed down the building we started doing all the services remotely," Brickner said. "It's the opportunity to be a comfort level for individuals. They're not there alone. If they want to help themselves, we're there to help them."

Brickner said the agency is expecting a substantial increase to the demand for their services as more and more Ohioans file for unemployment benefits. Nationally, economic experts anticipate the upcoming jobs report to be historically bad. Earlier this week, the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services reported nearly one million Ohioans have filed initial jobless claims in the past five weeks. The 960,000 jobless claims filed in the past month-and-a-half is nearly 25% more than in the past two years combined, according to state data.

While state leaders hope the vast majority of those individuals will return to their jobs once stay-at-home restrictions are lifted, it is entirely likely that many of those jobs will no longer be available. Brickner said that's why it is vital to have OMJCC's services available both online and over the phone.

"The ability to get individuals who are interested in our services and to be able to provide that online is a great service that is forcing us to be better, to be more mobile," Brickner said. "Especially a lot of the job seekers right now that are younger, they're used to technology. That's almost a preferred way for them to do business. This is a way that we can reach out with how they're comfortable and engage them and provide them with a lot of available services."

Brickner said job seekers that may look to pivot to a new industry or line of work may be eligible for training that OMJCC will either cover or help subsidize. Despite the virus-induced recession impacting so many sectors of the state economy, Brickner said there are still hundreds if not thousands of positions available in manufacturing, logistics, healthcare and information technology. Amazon, for example, needs to fill 4,600 positiions, Brickner said.

"Some of [the jobs] may require some short term certifications. That's some of the things that we may make available to them," Brickner said.

For those without computer or internet access, all of these resources can be accessed over the phone by calling 216-978-1375.

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