In-person unemployment services coming to 13 locations

Gov. Andy Beshear and Labor Secretary Larry Roberts announced Tuesday in-person unemployment insurance services will open April 15 at 13 regional Kentucky Career Centers located across the state.

KCC staff will be available for in-person assistance but only by appointment.  Starting at 1 p.m. EDT Wednesday, Kentuckians can begin scheduling their Monday through Friday appointments at kcc.ky.gov.

Openings on Wednesday will be for appointments between April 15-30.  Beginning on April 19, appointments for May 3 will become available, with additional appointment times opening each day thereafter.

“When you combine years of painful staffing cuts, an out-of-date system designed to tell people no and the effects of a once-in-100-years pandemic, many Kentuckians have been unable to obtain benefits,” Gov. Beshear said. “In addition to taking many new actions to help Kentuckians in need, we are now making good on our promise to begin putting unemployment specialists back into the local career centers.”

Roberts said the Kentucky Career Center staff is working diligently to prepare for opening day.

“It has taken a lot of work to make it happen in a short window of time, but our staff has worked hard in recent weeks to pull everything together to get us in a position to once again provide services that unemployment claimants need at this critical time,” Roberts said.

Under the previous administration, KCC locations around the state stopped providing in-person assistance to UI claimants in the fall of 2017, which didn’t turn out to be a serious problem until the COVID-19 pandemic struck in March 2020.

The record level of unemployment spurred by the pandemic and years of painful staffing cuts, location reductions and failure to upgrade IT systems, slowed the state’s ability to help many Kentuckians who lost jobs through no fault of their own.

The governor’s proposed budget included General Fund spending of $1.1 million in fiscal year 2021 and $8.4 million in fiscal year 2022 to provide funding to restore employees to help with unemployment claims at the career centers throughout the state.

On March 31, Gov. Beshear spoke about the need for additional state funding to bolster career center staffing for the long term.  The Labor Cabinet will be utilizing current staff members in the career centers who normally provide career counseling services, to begin offering in-person UI assistance.

The regional Kentucky Career Centers will be located in Ashland, Bowling Green, Covington, Elizabethtown, Hazard, Hopkinsville, Lexington, Louisville, Morehead, Owensboro, Paducah, Prestonsburg, and Somerset.

In addition to services being available by appointment only, the Labor Cabinet has other requirements:

–Anyone attending an appointment must wear a mask at all times.

–Photo ID is required to enter a KCC building.

–Temperatures will be taken before entering KCC buildings due to COVID-19.

They add while staff will make every effort to answer all questions during this appointment, UI specialists may not be able to provide a resolution during a single appointment. Some claims could require additional paperwork or take additional time to complete. An additional appointment will not be necessary.