New tool tries to connect hiring businesses with the unemployed as they navigate frustrating benefit registration

Published: Apr. 3, 2020 at 10:15 PM EDT
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By: Jacob Murphey | WCTV Eyewitness News

April 3, 2020

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) – With entire sectors of the economy shut down, and millions filing for unemployment, folks in the Big Bend aren't immune from the changing times.

The CEO of the Greater Tallahassee Chamber of Commerce, Sue Dick, put's it bluntly: "Individuals are suffering, we have small businesses who have let people go. This is probably the most difficult time our community has seen."

Now, the Chamber is doing what it can to ease the pain, unveiling a new program this week called Jobs Now.

It's a

still hiring in the Capital City. The growing list is updated daily.

"We've seen employers who say we are hiring by nature of some of the industries they work in," Dick said.

The Chamber is also encouraging the newly unemployed to seek out unemployment benefits. As recent reports have noted, that's easier said than done.

Chris Thomsen recently lost his residential construction job in Tallahassee. His family recently bought a home, but his world has changed in an instant.

"My wife and I were working and set up in a comfortable position,' he said. "Now, I don't have job that I had for six years,"

Having applied for benefits at another time in his life, Thomsen needs to reset his pin number. He says the one phone number to call to accomplish that task is unreachable.

"[I'm calling] hundreds of times a day... and all I get is 'choose Spanish or Creole' and half the time the line disconnects on you," he said.

Thomsen said he'll likely start looking for other work, but hopes the state can get the unemployment benefits system worked out.

"The world right now is in a very bad place and we're all trying to scrape by," he said. "It seems sometimes like we're not getting any help."

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