AUSTIN, Texas —
Heading into the new year, we checked in with the Texas Workforce Commission to see what Texans need to know about unemployment – as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to have devastating impacts on the economy.
Here's more from TWC Executive Director Ed Serna:
On unemployment benefits
Erica Proffer: A viewer wrote to us saying, ‘I'm not eligible to receive benefits because I was overpaid, will I receive any extra payment?’ I'm assuming that they're talking about if anything comes from federal stimulus money.
Ed Serna: We're still not withholding or drawing money from folks because of overpayment. We still have not turned that back on yet. We started sending bills out to let people know that they owe us money. That got some people panicked. But I think I mentioned to you before, we're still the best organization to owe money to because unless the situation involves fraud, we don't charge interest. You don't have to pay it all at one time. You can just pay us what you can when you can, even if you put it off. The only thing is the debt never, ever, ever goes away. We're not doing any offset of any overpayments right now, so we're still paying out benefits.
Proffer: What if you die like that? Will that be something kind of situation where the state can go into the estate and recoup some of that money?
Serna: I'm not aware that we've ever taken it to the estate. What we normally do when you have the debt gets established with us, we'll send letters. We'll even have our collection folks, we have a collection unit contact you. But we don't sell the debt to collection agencies. We don't use outside collection agencies. And then after a certain period of time, to be quite frank, we just stop pursuing it. But the debt sits there. So if someone passes away, unless we know we're not going to seek it from the estate. Normally what happens is if someone ignores us and they owe us money because of an overpayment, when they come back into the system to request unemployment insurance or disaster assistance because of a hurricane or something, an offset is turned on. Then we get our money. We'll get it that way.
I had one example. I got a call in probably May, April or May, from a woman who was very disappointed with us because she had a check coming to her from TxDOT because of the right-of-way that they had purchased. The comptroller wouldn't release the payment because she had a debt to us from the 1990s. So, I handed her off to our collections folks and they worked something out. She agreed to pay and we removed the hold that we had in the comptroller's office. Then she got her check from TxDOT. So there was money that the state owed her that didn't even come from us. but we did collect it. I think she had incurred the debt in the late 90s, and here we are collecting it in 2020.
Proffer: When the overpayment is turned back on, if there is a federal program in place like what was the CARES Act, would folks still get that portion paid or could the state hold it too?
Serna: If the overpayment offset got turned back on and there was a new CARES Act, then we would collect before we would even pay that money.
Proffer: What about the people who say that they still can't find work because of the pandemic? On that little check box, is that still going to be a qualifier if they're on traditional unemployment insurance or on extended benefits?
Serna: We'll evaluate each case. It ends up being on a case-by-case basis based on the circumstances that they're in now and whether their employers wouldn't be able to take them back because of the pandemic. Sorry, I don't have just a blanket answer for you because it's going from the pandemic to regular unemployment insurance. There are different qualifications for regular unemployment insurance than there was for the pandemic.
Proffer: Will they be able to get anything else?
Serna: Absolutely. TWC is still here to help those individuals. We will help those individuals with free training. We have a contract with a company called Metrix that's providing over 5,000 courses for free to individuals. We will help individuals get enrolled in "Work in Texas" or "My Texas Careers," which is a new website that we're developing to help people find jobs that work in conjunction with Work in Texas. All of our 28 Workforce Solutions boards and our 100 plus local offices are available to help individuals to match them up with employers. We have other skills training and other things like that. So, we'll still provide our regular services to them. We just won't have the authorization to pay them any kind of compensation.
Proffer: So, there's not a program where if you take training then you can have some sort of extension of benefits?
Serna: No ma'am. If you are already receiving benefits from us and you were taking training, then that may enable you to waive your work search requirement while you're in the training. But it doesn't mean enrolling in training doesn't get you any kind of financial payments.
Proffer: What will happen once a vaccine is available to the general public? Is that going to impact reasons to be able to deny work?
Serna: We're going to rely on the information available from the Department of State Health Services. Remember, with the vaccine, there's a prioritization of who receives the vaccine. There's also a choice as to whether someone chooses to – I'm assuming there's a choice and I believe there will be a choice – to whether someone chooses to get the vaccine or not. We'll have to see what the Department of State Health Services says with regard to the vaccine availability and whether that affects some of those categories where someone is at higher risk. They could say, 'Look, even with the vaccine, we believe you're still at high risk.' We will adhere to that. If they say 'No, once you get the vaccine, you're good to go.' Then, we'll adhere to that. That's a decision that we're going to rely on the health experts.
Proffer: When we talk about unemployment insurance, we're looking at a one-year window. Is there anything that could happen in March or April if somebody was laid off right at the start of the pandemic?
Serna: There are some things. If, for example, you were denied benefits and you appealed those benefits ... and you're going through the appeal process. If that appeal doesn't resolve for several months – because there's the initial appeal and another appeal, then another appeal before it gets to the commission – and at the end of all the appeals, it is determined that you should have gotten benefits, we will go back and pay you those benefits, whether they are regular unemployment insurance or whether it is money from the CARES Act. So it can be in April your appeal is resolved and it is in your favor, then we will pay you all of that we owed you back in 2020.
Proffer: How many people are getting CARES Act money?
Serna: That number in total is about 830,000. Right now we are paying every two weeks. We're paying unemployment to between 1.3 and 1.4 million individuals. So, just over half. We would love to be able to continue to help them. You may recall me saying this early on in interviews that we had, we know that we were a lifeline to our neighbors, our fellow Texans. But, in this case, there's nothing we can do. Those were federal programs authorized by Congress and the president. And there's been no action to do anything so far.
It's the worst time. I don't know that they thought it through because, if you think about it, this is the worst time of year for that to happen with Christmas as well, the holidays. So granted, the individuals that are on assistance from the unemployment pandemic probably were already going to be struggling over the holidays anyway to have some semblance of a normal holiday. They were relying on this rent, mortgage, insurance, utilities, food, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. But now it could be even worse is the worst time of year. But they didn't ask us our opinion.
Texas business impact
Proffer: About the Title XII advances, are you guys going to have to start paying some of it back in January?
Serna: Not January, January. The beginning of January is when interest starts accruing. If we haven't paid it back, we're not done using Title XII yet. We probably won't be done using Title XII for some time. Right now, we've probably used about or almost $5.7 billion. We are projecting that if we have to continue it into July, it'll be about $9 billion.
Our assumption is with the economy, we make the worst-case scenario and we're thinking it could be as high as 9 billion that we'll need to use.
We have to start making payments in September of next year. The interest starts accruing in January and payments have to start in September. However, Congress could end up saying, as they did during the Great Recession, we're going to let this be interest-free for a longer period of time, or we're going to let the states continue using this without having to pay it back for a longer period of time and keep it interest-free. They could add another year or so. This is worse than the Great Recession from impacting businesses and individuals. So it could be that Congress acts to extend that to an even greater extent than they did during the recession. But we don't know that yet. That's up to Congress.
We have a legislative session starting Jan. 12. I'm sure that we will be an agency that is at the top of their 'we want to talk to you' list. This will be one of those things. We do have plans in place on how to address it. One of those plans is that we would go to the bond market, as we have in the past. We would do that to get a lower interest rate.
Proffer: When would the bond be taken out?
Serna: It takes us about two to three months to go to a bond issuance. So if we have to start making payments in September, then we would begin working to secure bonds in late May, early June. The legislature may have a solution. Congress may have a solution. There has been some talk about not only extending the interest-free portion of it or the availability of it without having to pay it back, but there has been talk about, maybe Congress will say, 'Look, half of what you borrowed, you don't have to pay back at all.'"
So we don't want to issue bonds too soon because Congress could come back and say, 'Well, we're waiving some of that or we're we're pushing out the interest-free portion of it.' So we want to wait as long as we can to see what Congress does. Of course, the legislature is engaged as well before we start issuing bonds.
Proffer: What if you're still drawing down advances?
Serna: It would be a great challenge for us and it would probably be a situation that's going to be occurring nationwide. You know, where I think we're the third-heaviest users of Title XII right now. California being the heaviest.
So I think if we're at that point where states are still needing to use Title XII, I would hope that Congress would look at it and go, 'Yeah, this is a bigger problem than just states starting to pay back.' But our planning assumes that things begin to get better, that we begin the recovery and that we're not needing to draw and pay simultaneously.
Proffer: So you mentioned the debt from places like California, how we're much better off regarding Title XII advances. What has made it that way? Is it that we have fewer layoffs or is it that we had more money in the bank to begin with?
Serna: A couple of things, I think, in my opinion, made it that way. One, our businesses paid taxes back in the summer, almost $1 billion in taxes, even though they were already dealing with COVID. Two, while we have had a high unemployment rate, we still have a lot of folks that are working. So our numbers of the individuals that we're having to pay are not as great. Then, you probably heard complaints about us, but we're a very conservative state and agency. So we scrutinize the request for payment very diligently. And then third, our unemployment insurance payments are not 100% reimbursement of your lost wages. We're at about 40%. So the amount that we pay out, while it does help someone get by, doesn't replace their wages. So the amount we're paying out is a lower amount.
Proffer: Will that amount that you're paying now change next year?
Serna: That is set in statute, so the legislature would have to say, look, we're going to, you know, we want to change that, we want it to be 75% or 30%.
Proffer: The tax rate for businesses, how will that work?
Serna: Yeah, there's actually a little bit of a complicated thing because there are actually four different taxes that are associated with unemployment insurance. There's the general tax that is set in statute. There's what's called the replenishment tax, which is the tax that businesses have to pay in order to refill, for lack of a better description, the unemployment insurance trust fund. That's the one that our commissioners pushed out (to April).
There's a general tax rate that has two components, there's a replenishment tax rate, and that's what you heard our commissioners take action on. There's an employer training investment tax. There's a deficit assessment. The deficit assessment occurs when the trust fund falls below a certain amount. It's at zero right now. So it is definitely below the amount. The floor is a billion and the ceiling is two billion. So if it goes above two billion, then you stop collecting taxes because we're already at the ceiling. If we go below a billion, then this deficit assessment kicks in. Our commissioners have the ability to make decisions on both the replenishment rate and the deficit assessment. The other two general tax rate and the employer training investment, those are set in statute.
Proffer: We're going to have to pay back this money. We've depleted the trust fund. Are businesses going to have to pay more in the future?
Serna: That's the challenge that we're facing. Our commissioners have the ability to say that the deficit assessment is zero. They can do that within their own authority. That doesn't take legislative action, the general tax rate and that training investment take legislative action. Those are in statute. So it's hard for me to say employers have to pay more. It is very likely that the legislature is going to look at the tax situation. That's why I say we're going to probably be at the top of the we-want-to-talk-to-you list that the legislature has.
On catching fraud
Proffer: So I noticed the ID.me, the partnership that you guys have. Is that new?
Serna: Yes, ma'am, it is. It's one of the steps that we're taking. We didn't publicize that very much because it's one of the steps that we're taking to help prevent fraud. Not everybody has to go through that. It's just if we have certain triggers and if your information hits one of those triggers, then we ask you to go to ID.me. They verify your identity, and then that information comes to us from them. Once we get that, if everything comes up good, then we move forward and process your payment. We have found it to be a very effective tool in preventing fraud. Will get people to submit a claim and they've hit some of those triggers. We've asked them to go ID.me to verify and they don't. There's only one reason you wouldn't do that, and that's because you were trying to get money that wasn't yours.
Proffer: Was this brought about because of a surge in fraudulent claims?
Serna: Part of it was brought about because of concern that we had for a surge in fraudulent claims, and then we were also beginning to see an uptick in fraudulent claims. There's really, as you know, two types. There's someone who's just trying to defraud us because they've stolen somebody's identity. Then, there's something that's more organized crime where they've stolen a whole bunch of identities and they've got computer systems that are automatically filing claims. We saw that happen a couple of times. So we're adding more tools to what we're doing. We hired a couple of data scientists to help us analyze the data. They helped us put some of these initial triggers in place. We have ID.me. We're going to be meeting with a couple of other contractors, vendors, with other solutions to help us filter through some of the data we have. We have a massive amount of data, you can imagine with over six million claims. We're going to use whatever tools we can to help filter through those.
Proffer: What do you know about the organized criminal organizations that are doing this? Have you guys got a certain amount or have identified a certain amount of people in which their identities have been stolen?
Serna: We don't have a specific number of people ... What we're finding with organized crime, they're coming in and more and more masses. They're changing their tactics about every five to six weeks. We're trying to change our tactics in how we detect some of those. We're not detecting all of them. I'll be the first to tell you, I don't think we're doing as bad as some of the other states.
Questions from the public
Proffer: I pulled some questions off of your Twitter. One person asked if someone exhausts all of the unemployment benefits, both extended ones, and still can't get a job, where you put them on some type of benefit?
Serna: There aren't any other benefits. We don't have any others. It's very unfortunate, but we don't have any others.
Proffer: Another question is, ‘how many courses and times in Metrix can I complete a week of job requirements credit?’ I'm assuming they're talking about the work search. Can they just do that every single time?
Serna: They can as long as they're successfully completing the course. They can't just be in the course. You have to move through and complete the course. But really, work search is not that complicated right now. I mean, you do it online. Right now, at least for another month or so, it's set to three a week. So you can wake up on a Wednesday and do a work search in the morning, work search at lunch and then work search at supper, and you're done for your three for that week. You can repeat it again the next week. Then, when you go to request payment, it'll ask you if you're able and available and you say, 'yes, you're able and available.' 'Did you complete your work searches?' 'Yes, I completed six.' We're not asking for logs. You should keep a log. But we're not asking for logs or verification. You say, 'yes, I completed my six,' and then you move on and request your benefits and get your benefit deposited the next day or so.
Proffer: So a person says, ‘my PUA runs out on the 12th. Can I still get it if the bill passes after the 12th? Will I need to continue to file after the 12th?’ So I'm guessing they're asking if Congress passes a new relief bill. Will that person who's PUA runs out on the 12th, be able to get the next round?
Serna: I promise I'm not trying to be evasive, but it depends on what's in the bill. We've heard a couple of different things. One of the things that we've heard is Congress would be adding money, but would not be adding time. So if someone would have already exhausted all their 39 weeks and there's no way to get them on to some other program, even though Congress extended something but they didn't extend the 39 weeks, we would not be able to get that individual funds. If Congress extends, adds money and says, 'hey, look, and we're adding another 13 weeks,' then the answer to that question would be yes.
So it's not a not a straight answer because we don't know what Congress and the president would implement.
Let your viewers be assured we are planning for contingencies of all those things I mentioned and some other stuff so we can be ready. We don't want to have any delays, regardless of what Congress does. The only thing that will throw a monkey wrench into our works is if Congress delays doing something and then makes it retroactive.
Making things retroactive really kind of grinds the gears for us just because having to go back and identify who was, who wasn't three weeks ago or four weeks ago or something like that. Even in that case, we'll probably have scenarios ready to be implemented where we won't take us very long to do that.
Proffer: 'Very long,' like are we talking days, weeks?
Serna: We try to do things in days. The thing that took us the longest when the CARES Act was passed, after I executed the agreement with the Department of Labor, the only thing that took us weeks was the compensation for the self-employed because they had never been in the system. But really the CARES Act for other folks, we were able to kind of kick in and the extra $600 within days. The only thing that took weeks was finalizing the programming for adding a whole new classification of workers, the self-employed and the contract workers. So, in this case, our goal would be to either have it just a smooth transition without days. Or, if anything, it will just be a couple of days. As always, we catch folks back up. So we do go retroactive.
Proffer: You guys are going to be sending out a tax notice.
Serna: A Form 1099 – 2.9 million of those.
Proffer: How many do you expect to get back if it was a bad address?
Serna: Well, it was a bad address or something like that, we were thinking not very many, considering that folks have been pretty diligent since they have wanted payments from us. And we will be sending out significant notification via email and other electronic means to their accounts to let them know these are going to be coming out. If you have moved or have a different mailing address, let us know. So we're not anticipating getting a whole lot back. But one thing that I do want to share with you is because this is the largest mailing we would have ever done, even during the Great Recession ... There's going to be some folks that get a 1099 and say, 'I never got benefits. I don't know why I would owe this money.' Those are some of the folks whose identities have been stolen that have fallen through our filters. I would encourage your viewers if that's the situation, to contact us because that's going to be one more way that we can address that. We will make sure that we work with the IRS so that you don't owe taxes on money that you didn't get.
That's a sign that your identity was probably stolen, notify us immediately, we'll tell you the steps that you need to take with regard to your identity. We'll also take steps to make sure the IRS knows that you don't owe that money. We don't have too many of those, but we do anticipate that happening.
A couple of quick messages, if I can, to viewers is, one, make sure your contact information with us is current, especially the mailing address. But all your contact information with us is current. You should treat your UI account like you do any bank account. You should be checking it regularly in case someone has stolen your identity.
And then if you do get a notice from us that is an error because you didn't receive benefits, notify us immediately and we'll have other mechanisms for doing that.
We're going to keep the four contract call centers on board. So we're not going to reduce the number of call centers we have, even though the number of callers is declining. We're not going to reduce that so that we can be able and available to our customers to serve them as we get through all this.
Proffer: That was also another question. How are the status of the call centers? I noticed a lot of folks on either Facebook or Twitter talked about how they still had trouble getting through.
Serna: Yeah. There are individuals that still have trouble getting through. It frustrates us. On a daily basis, we probably have close to 700 people answering calls and making outbound calls, both in our call centers and in the contract call centers. I think we have in excess of a couple of thousand folks in the contract call centers.
We've increased our phone lines. We've done everything we can. It still frustrates us, and I know they may not believe it, but as much as it does them, it frustrates us that our customers can't get to us. The majority of folks are still getting to us online. We've made modifications to our chat. We've added portals to collect information for callbacks in order to address some of that. So, Larry, the chatbot not only answers questions now, but can we take information and have folks get that information to folks to have him call back? But it's still a challenge.
Like in every business, we have some people in our contract call centers and in our call centers that take a little bit longer to get up to speed to help folks. And the way that call switch works is it doesn't say, well, 'Erica is more qualified than Ed. And this looks like a complicated call. So I'm going to send it to Erica.' It just sends it to whoever is available next. If Ed's available next, though he may not have gotten up to speed as fast as Erica, he still gets the call. Sometimes our customers get frustrated because, you know, Ed will say, 'I can't help you. I've got to get you to somebody else. They can help you.' You have to transfer them or say, 'I need you to call back, to call this other number to get someone who's got more experience.' We still bump into that too. We're working through that.
Our call centers are continuing to develop expertise, of course. Our call centers I'm very proud of. I will give them a compliment in that I have not had a single call center employee quit or resign because of the stress or pressure. They got their first day off Thanksgiving Day. You know, we've been open all the holidays. We've been open seven to seven by seven, seven days a week since we implemented that program. That was through Easter, Fourth of July, Memorial Day, Labor Day. I finally decided that I thought that our call centers, including our contract call centers, deserved a day off. So we closed, and we will be closed again on Christmas so that all of our employees can spend time with their families. So just kind of a warning that it will be close one more time.
Proffer: You're getting a lot of people submitting an appeal when it's not really an appeal. So, how does that happen? First, tell me about the problem but then how does somebody even get in the system like that?
Serna: The problem is due to individuals, and it's not their fault, to individuals who are not used to being in the unemployment insurance system. So they submit a request or submit a claim, they don't hear back or they hear that their claim, their initial claim, is being investigated or something, and they want to appeal that. That's not the time to appeal anything. There's been no final decision yet. But they're unfamiliar with it and they believe that they need to immediately appeal to it in order to get an answer. We at one point experienced an incredible spike in the number of what we call a 'request for appeal.' Probably 80% of them weren't valid appeals. They were never going to go through the process of an appeal because we weren't done evaluating the initial claim yet. So that's how that happens. It's individuals that are unfamiliar with the system and believe because they've either heard something or read something, that they need to immediately appeal it versus waiting for us to finish the claims investigation or finish making a final determination. They have an initial determination or they haven't heard from us and they do that. If they wait just a little while to get a final determination from us and then at that point file an appeal, it would help a whole lot. It's understandable.
Proffer: Is there not a way to filter that out?
Serna: There is and we are doing that. The challenge is these individuals are frustrated because they believe they have filed an appeal and haven't heard back from us in two weeks, three weeks, four weeks because of the volume. We can't just filter it and ignore it. We have to touch it, and then contact them and say this is not a valid appeal, here's where you're at in the process. But it's not an appeal. It's not appealable yet.
Proffer: Is that something that can be automated? On the back end of the system, you can send an automatic reply like, 'You're not eligible for appeal at this point.'
Serna: That could be the case, which is why we're replacing our old system with the new system that can be more efficient like that. For us to make those kinds of changes would take an inordinate amount of time in our current system, which is doing what it's supposed to do. But I think we've talked about it before. It was built back in the 90s. But we're wrapping up negotiations that we would have wrapped up back in late February, early March, early March. But the pandemic kind of stopped us. But we're going to start replacing this old system with the new that they can do things like that.
Proffer: Are you asking the legislature for more money to be able to get these systems?
Serna: No, ma'am. All we're asking the legislature for is appropriations authority to spend the money that we have. So little intricacy you may or may not know, your viewers may or may not know: For an agency that has federal funds like us, where 86-87% is federally funded, though we have the federal cash, we have to get what's called appropriation authority from the legislature to spend the cash.
Proffer: So it's federal, federally regulated, you still need State?
Serna: The State has to approve, has to give us authority. It's called appropriation authority, the authority to spend the money. Last legislative session, the legislature was very supportive and gave us appropriations authority to spend the $40 million that we had accumulated to replace the system, the unemployment insurance system. So, we have the money to replace the system and we have the appropriations authority to replace the system. If you look at our legislative appropriations request, which we've already submitted, you will see a capital expenditure exceptional item. For the unemployment insurance system, that is for an extension of that appropriation authority, it is not for any money. We have the money that we need. We, just because of COVID, are behind schedule. So we know we're going to go past the end date of the current appropriation authority. We're simply requesting additional appropriation authority, but not the cash. We have the cash we need.
Proffer: The money that you get from the federal government, it is already allocated. Because it's federal, the rules are already there. What authority will the state give you that the federal government hasn't already given to spend that money?
Serna: Theoretically, the legislature is completely responsible for the state's budget. In the case of federal dollars, it is not for the money. We'll use the $40 million for our unemployment insurance system replacement as a simple example, OK? They can't say, 'Yeah, we're going to have you spend $30 million and we're going to take the other $10 million and use it someplace else.' That's not what they're talking about. What they're talking about is, 'Yes, go ahead and spend that $40 million for that system.' Or, 'No, you don't need a new system.' Let's say we already had a new system and we just wanted to buy another one. They could end up saying, 'No, we don't want you to spend time buying a new system. You just bought a new one two years ago. That would be a waste of federal, even federal dollars.'
Proffer: It sounds to me that the state is trying to do your job. That's your decision. Why does it have to be approved by committee?
Serna: The legislature has responsibility for all state agencies and the budgets in all state agencies. Our federal dollars get rolled into the total appropriation bill. It's more earmarked as dedicated federal dollars. Agencies are created by the legislature and are ultimately guided by the legislature. Their purview is representing the people – and I'm being sincere – it is in their purview representing the people to say, 'Here's how we want that agency to operate.' Which is why we have the Sunset Commission that can say, 'Look, we want that state agency anymore.' That is their role.
The one thing I will say about the legislature is when we sit at the table and say, 'I need appropriations authority to spend $40 million in federal dollars to replace the unemployment insurance system,' most of the time the legislature will say, 'OK, let me understand this. These are federal dollars. It's not costing us anything? You just want to spend them?' And we'll say, 'Yes, sir. Yes, ma'am.' And they'll say, 'This is a no-brainer. I don't even know why we're discussing this,' and it'll get approved.
Proffer: And that's why I was asking. This is a no-brainer.
Serna: But because of their constitutional responsibility to manage the State's budget in the government and our federal funds are included, when you look at the large appropriations bill, it includes revenue from other sources, general revenue, federal dollars, dedicated, etc. All of these things are included in there. We think it's a good checks-and-balances. You could have agencies that are running amuck, not that we would, but because they have federal dollars, they could thumb their nose at the legislature and say, 'You know what, we don't care. We're going to give everybody a $10,000 raise because it's all federal funds.' No, don't do that.
Proffer: Oh, OK, I understand. Was there anything else going on that is important for our viewers to know?
Serna: Three quick things. One, we are experiencing issues with fraud, but I want your viewers to know that we are on it and we are taking care of it. And if for some reason they get a notice that causes them to scratch their head and go, 'I didn't apply for unemployment insurance' or they are a business and say, 'My employees haven't applied, they're still here,' let us know. We have fraud hotlines. We have portals where you can report that. You don't need to call the 800 number. There's an online portal. You can report it to us. But we are taking very aggressive steps to address it proactively to identify it, to prevent it and to take care of it. The second, which we talked about with the ending of the CARES Act, we are still here in other regards to assist individuals, find a job, get training, get child care to still help you. We're not, we don't go away from helping you. It's just that one aspect of the federal program that's going away. Unfortunately, it's not our program, but we're still here. Your Workforce Commission is still here to assist you. And then the final thing that I probably want to make sure everybody knows is we still take our responsibility to serve your viewers, our customers, very seriously. We've taken all the steps we can. We're going to continue to take steps I mentioned earlier. We're going to keep the call centers beyond December 31. Even as things get better, we're going to keep the call centers going. We've also got some call centers, little call centers on the workforce side that are helping individuals get registered to work in Texas. So if you need help getting registered to work in Texas or need help finding a job, we're here for you. Twenty-eight boards are here for you and we're here for you, both virtually and in person. The call centers have probably reached out to, I don't know, several hundred-thousand individuals. Because of that, about 30,000+ have found jobs. So we're here to help you.
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