Despite the slim offerings he found at online job sites, Donn, a 33-year-old homeless man who is originally from Wisconsin, said he remained hopeful that something will come up even as unemployment benefits for thousands of job seekers expired Tuesday.
With a calm demeanor Donn, a former long-haul trucker, explained that during this time of economic uncertainty people are going to have to be “open-minded” about the prospect of training for work that is outside the parameters of what they did before.
“I’m willing to do any type of work,” Donn said.
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The safety net is expected to get a little weaker for some in the Imperial Valley as unemployment insurance that helped keep an estimated 3.3 million people nationwide out of poverty last year was allowed to lapse after Congress failed to reauthorize extending the program.
Without federal unemployment benefits more than 410,000 Californians could face a time of hardship along with thousands of other Americans, which U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., said could adversely impact local businesses and undermine job creation.
Sam Couchman, director of the Imperial County Workforce Development Office, said that the move is likely to impact those locally as they have been relying on benefits to cover their expenses as they look for work.
“It’s certainly going to have an impact on Imperial County,” Couchman said.
While 17,255 Imperial County residents have been receiving unemployment insurance as of September, it is not known how many will be affected by the loss of benefits, said Patrick Joyce, spokesman for the state’s Employment Development Department.
But now as benefits have ended, some like Francisco Armenta are counting their blessings that they have a job to fall back on.
Armenta, a 25-year-old Imperial resident who went to the El Centro Workforce location with his infant daughter, Victoria Isabella, said his girlfriend is searching for work. Mistakes on the job aren’t tolerated where Armenta works, he said.
“I’m lucky,” he said. “That’s why I try to keep it.”
Staff Writer Silvio J. Panta can be reached at 760 337-3442 or at firstname.lastname@example.org