After a year of unemployment, out of work Oklahomans will have to refile a claim in order to receive another year of benefits.
“We’re seeing those initial claims rise because people are filing a new initial claim, although we aren’t necessarily adding those people to the unemployment numbers, but there is some numbers that are going up,” Oklahoma Employment Security Commission executive director Shelley Zumwalt said.
For the week of April 10, 17,997 people applied for unemployment. The figure is 4,145 more claims filed than the week before.
These numbers are leading OESC in a new direction: To try and help people get back to work.
“This is by far a completely different animal, since we learned some lessons putting on claims fair’s last summer when we had them all over the state,” Zumwalt said. “We said, ‘Why don’t we flip the script and do career fairs?’”
The agency will have seven in-person career fairs in May.
“We wanted to go all over the state and hit each regional area. We are doing one in Tulsa, Enid, Oklahoma City, Lawton and McAlester,” Zumwalt said.
People who want to sign up can do so on the OESC’s website.
“We’ve reached out to thousands of employers and hundreds of claimants, so these are going to be significant events,” Zumwalt said. “There is the opportunity for people to get an interview on-site and walk out with a new job or an opportunity for employment.”
In order to maximize availability, the OESC is also working on launching a virtual job fair that will go on throughout the month of May.