LEE COUNTY, Fla.- Some major changes are on the way when it comes to how Floridians file for unemployment benefits. The changes are aimed at cutting state costs and getting more of the state's jobless back to work.
Effective August 1st, three new mandates will be put into place to qualify for state unemployment benefits.
First, all claims must be filed over the Internet. Recipients will also have to provide proof of contact with at least 5 potential employers per week. Another new mandate requires claimants to complete an online skills review test, to streamline their job search.
The online-only switch is aimed at saving the state $4.7 million dollars a year in administrative costs. Still, not everyone is sold.
"I don't even have a computer at home, so I have to go to the library or a friend's house," Kenneth Miller, who is out of work, said Wednesday.
"What are the older people going to do, the older generation that don't know how to use a computer or have Internet service," said Jon St. Pierre, who's looking for work in the welding business.
Southwest Florida Works' seven career centers provide free computer access daily. They're seeing a sharp increase in job seekers taking up the service and more employers relying solely on online recruitment.
"We're having more and more companies that are asking their job seekers to apply online. We've even developed an online job search class so people get an idea about the methodology," Barbara Hartman of Southwest Florida Works said Wednesday.
If people on unemployment are not able to make contact with at least five potential employers, a visit with a representative from a One-Stop Career Center will also satisfy the new requirements.