Proposal could raise requirements for unemployment work searches

MADISON (WITI) -- Those who collect unemployment benefits are required to apply for two jobs each week in order to continue receiving those benefits. A new proposal would raise the requirement to four job applications per week.

The Joint Finance Committee proposal would require people to double their work search efforts or potentially lose their benefits.

"During the so-called Great Recession, Wisconsin borrowed over a billion, with a 'b' to pay for unemployment checks. So we have to repay that money to the federal government," Jim Golembeski, Executive Director of the Bay Area Workforce Development Board said.

Department of Workforce Development numbers indicate the agency processed more than 92,000 unemployment claims in a recent week. Maximum weekly benefits can reach as high as $330 per person. In 2012, total benefit payments reached $1.57 billion.

"There is a concerted effort on the part of the administration to get people back to work as quickly as possible," Golembeski said.

At the Job Center in Green Bay, Alexandra Lynn says she can send out 15 applications a week.

"The computer is very useful. I can just go online and be able to go on the Job Center website or on Craigslist and find jobs on there," Lynn said.

Others say applying to four places a week could saturate the market. Orlando LeBron says people may apply just to comply.

"I would even do that to keep my benefits. Even if I know I have no qualifications for that job, I am going to do what is necessary. That I comply with what they are asking for," LeBron said.

"Employers don't want someone who is not qualified applying. We really need people on unemployment to get serious about a job search," Golembeski said.

Industry experts say job seekers should have a resume and cover letter specific to each job, and brush up on their interview skills.

"You got to look at 'what does the employer want' and 'how do I put that into my resume in a way that that employer is going to say this is a pretty good match here,'" Golembeski said.