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State program aims to help underserved communities navigate unemployment benefits

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(The Center Square) – The Washington Employment Security Department will host an online information program next week for community organizations interested in helping people in underserved communities file unemployment claims.

The virtual conference is scheduled Wednesday, Sept. 13, from 10 a.m. to noon and will be hosted through Microsoft Teams.

The conference is for organizations seeking to participate in Employment Security’s “Unemployment Insurance Navigator Program.”

Once trained, designated “navigators” will conduct outreach, education, and support to help individuals file for unemployment and better understand claim processes and related services.

In addition, navigators will meet regularly with Employment Security staff to share best practices, review challenges and provide feedback on ways to improve services for everyone, according to press release Friday from the state agency.

Selected organizations will be eligible for up to $500,000 to provide assistance in their communities. The focus is on “disadvantaged” communities which have been affected by persistent poverty and inequality.

The Sept. 13 virtual conference will be accessible on computer or device by using this link at 10 a.m., or by audio-only phone call at 564-999-2000 (enter phone conference ID: 460219069#).

Interested organizations can apply through Sept. 29. Applicants must create a Washington’s Electronic Business Solution (WEBS) account. WEBS is a platform that allows businesses and other organizations to look up public agency solicitations for goods and services. Participants will be selected after the Employment Security Department has reviewed all applications.

For more information about the program or bidding process, contact esdgpbids@esd.wa.gov.

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