THE SHUTDOWN: DAY 9: Peninsula job services curtailed
By Arwyn Rice
Peninsula Daily News
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A statewide order has furloughed workers and cut others' hours in Employment Security Department offices across the state, including the offices in Clallam and Jefferson counties — cutting the only staff position in the region that works with unemployed disabled veterans.
Four of 10 employees in the Clallam County Work Source office have been furloughed, which serves Clallam County from offices on First Street in Port Angeles, and one in the two-person Jefferson County Work Source office in Port Hadlock, said Bill Tarrow, deputy communications director for the statewide Employment Security Department.
“We will continue to do the best we can provide,” Tarrow said Tuesday.
The state agency receives 87 percent of its funding from the federal government, he said, and is using state monies to pay remaining staff who are necessary to process unemployment claims.
“We figure we can keep going with the state funds for a few weeks. If we go on for a month, we'll have to re-examine that,” Sheryl Hutchison, a spokeswoman for the agency, told The Seattle Times.
Statewide, the Employment Security Department eliminated hours for 418 state employees, and hours will be reduced by 50 percent to 60 percent for additional 450 workers, according to a statement from the department.
The department has a total of 1,669 employees.
On Tuesday afternoon, the Clallam County Work Source supervisor was not available to answer questions about how the furloughs would affect Clallam and Jefferson counties.
She had been furloughed.
Most of the most severely affected workers are in Olympia to spare local offices that work directly with unemployed people as much as possible, Tarrow said.
Tarrow said that in Clallam County, the four furloughed workers include the sole disabled military veterans caseworker, who is furloughed during the shutdown because the position is funded entirely through the federal government.
“Veterans will continue to get basic services, but there will be no veterans specialists on site to deal with veterans' issues,” he said.
The Clallam County administrator, who also oversees the small Jefferson County office, and two Port Angeles office core labor exchange workers, who assist job-seekers with resumes and other tasks associated with job searches, have had hours reduced by 20 percent, according to a list provided by the state.
Of the two workers in the Port Hadlock office, the hours for one have been cut by 20 percent, Tarrow said.
There are additional workers in the offices who work with other organizations, many of which are unaffected by the federal funding issue and will continue providing services, he said.
Funding through the state Workforce Protection Act, which provides assistance and training to displaced workers and youths, is mixed.
Tarrow said that federal funding for displaced workers was being held up due to the federal shutdown, but money for youth training and employment already had come through when the shutdown began.
It was unclear how that funding would be distributed for ongoing programs, he said.
Meanwhile, The Seattle Times reported that Washington Military Department has called back 764 of the 850 workers it furloughed at the beginning of the month because of congressional action to pay civilian military employees.
Reporter Arwyn Rice can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5070, or at email@example.com.
Last modified: October 08. 2013 6:48PM