The new program aims to help underserved communities navigate unemployment benefits

Community meeting photo via Pexels.

Community organizations that help people from disadvantaged communities file for unemployment will be able to learn more next week about a new program aimed at helping them.

The Washington State Department of Employment Services will host a virtual applicant conference from 10 a.m. to noon on Wednesday, September 13. The conference is for organizations interested in the Unemployment Insurance Navigator program.

Public organizations “Navigators” participating in the program will help potential applicants to file an unemployment application. They will also help claimants better understand the unemployment claim process and related services. Organizations selected by the Employment Security Department will receive up to $500,000 to help their communities.

What will navigators do

  • Conduct targeted information work, education and support in communities that have historically been underserved, marginalized and affected by persistent poverty and inequality.
  • Help the employment protection department reduce or eliminate existing barriersfor unemployment benefits for people from disadvantaged communities.
  • Improve access to benefits and accessibility for all skilled Washington workers.
  • Get training to make sure they understand how applying for and receiving unemployment benefits works.
  • Meet with Employment Security Officers regularly (virtually or in person) to share best practices and address challenges.
  • Give feedback and suggestions about how Employment Security can improve its services for everyone.

How to apply

Interested community organizations can apply for the program now through 11:59 PM PST on September 29, 2023. Applicants must create a Washington Electronic Business Solution (WEBS) account. WEBS is a platform that allows businesses and other organizations to search for government agency requests for goods and services.

Community organizations will be selected after the Department of Employment Security reviews all applications. For questions about the program or the bidding process, contact esdgpbids@esd.wa.gov.

Other details

The virtual conference will be held via Microsoft Teams. Employment Security Department staff will provide an overview of the program and answer questions during the conference.

To join using a computer or device:

Follow this link to join at 10am on Wednesday 13th September.

To join using an audio-only phone call:

Call 564-999-2000 and enter the conference call ID: 460219069#

To learn more about how the Employment Security Department is helping nonprofits and community partners, go to esd.wa.gov/community.




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