SALT LAKE CITY — Earlier this week, the Utah Department of Workforce Services announced that the weekly $600 stimulus payment provided to people who lost work due to the COVID-19 pandemic, in addition to the traditional weekly unemployment benefit, will soon run out.
And that nearly 81,000 Utahns are currently depending on unemployment benefits to make ends meet.
There is also the possibility that some of the jobs lost when businesses had to close may not come back. Or, if they do, may not come back before unemployment benefits dry up.
But a new program mandated by Utah law can help residents obtain new skills. And, the possibility of a new way forward.
‘Learn and Work in Utah’ career development program
Utah lawmakers authorized the Learn and Work in Utah program during their 5th special session of 2020. It was a part of H.B. 5010, the COVID-19 Economic Recovery Program.
Lawmakers wanted a way for workers to consider a new career. They also wanted an incentive to return to the workforce for Utah residents displaced by the pandemic. The program is a joint effort by the Governor’s Office of Economic Development and the Utah System of Higher Education.
It is funded by the federal CARES Act.
“Many Utahn’s are fortunate enough to still be working,” said Val Hale with the Governor’s Office of Economic Development (GOED).
“However, many are not working because of the COVID-19 pandemic. This program can give those who have been displaced from work an opportunity to learn new skills.”
How the program works
“Learn and Work in Utah” consists of short-term training programs that will be taught on college and university campuses across the state.
“As our state begins the process of economic recovery, higher education will serve a pivotal role in helping individuals re-skill and re-enter the workforce,” said Dave R. Woolstenhulme, Utah’s commissioner of higher education.
Park of the program includes the creation of an online “dashboard,” that examines unemployment and job opening trends and then matches workers with new job opportunities.
Program organizers told KSL Newsradio that those who are interested in learning more or signing up will be able to do so after the first week in August. At that point, there will be an online dashboard that will lead residents to the programs offered by Utah tech colleges and universities.
More information is also available by contacting the Department of Workforce Services.
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