Throughout the state, Help Wanted signs can be found everywhere. There are jobs in manufacturing, health care, hospitality, criminal justice, child care, retail — you name it, they are hiring.
But for some reason, Gov. Tony Evers is proposing to increase the maximum weekly rate an individual can receive in unemployment benefits.
He is proposing, as part of the state budget, to increase the maximum amount from $370 per week to $406 per week, a figure that is calculated based on a percentage of what an employee earned before losing a job.
A spokesman for the state Department of Workforce Development, which runs the program, said in a statement to the Wisconsin State Journal that the state jobless benefit rate is less than most states and even with Evers’ proposed increase, the state’s benefit rate would remain below the national average.
The department “believes that individuals who lose work through no fault of their own shouldn’t have to worry about paying their bills,” spokesman Ben Jedd said.
Meanwhile, right now, there are dozens of places offering on-the-spot interviews.
Instead of increasing unemployment benefits, now is the time to increase training opportunities and continue as a state to be on the front end of career readiness.
Officials in the City of Racine, Racine County and at the Racine Unified School District are doing a great job preparing workers.
At the school level, Unified has developed career pathways to prepare students for not just graduation, but a career. The pathways give students a chance to specialize in a particular area, as well as college credits and certifications in some cases, meaning they could start the job right away.
At the city and county level, the First Choice Pre-Apprenticeship Program continues to work to train workers, and officials are continue community outreach through the Uplift 900 program.
In addition, Gateway Technical College and the University of Wisconsin-Parkside are constantly working to meet the ever-changing needs of the community.
The state doesn’t need to increase the benefits for those who are unemployed. The state needs to continue initiatives to get those workers back to work.