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2 weeks after unemployment job search requirement renewed, many still struggling to find work

Published: Jun. 14, 2021 at 6:35 AM HST|Updated: Jun. 14, 2021 at 7:12 AM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The state’s unemployment work search program has been reinstated two weeks ago.

Under the new reinstated requirement, those who are seeking unemployment benefits need to make three job search contacts per week. That includes registering for work on HireNet Hawaii, applying for jobs by submitting a resume, or attending a job fair.

They need to keep a log of those jobs and submit it upon request.

In late May, Hawaii News Now talked to Jaydee Rodrigues, who had a case pending for months.

She was worried that with the new requirement, the office would never get to her case.

Soon after the interview, she said workers did take a look and now she is searching for a job.

“For me personally, it’s just utilizing online resources,” she said. “There’s a lot of postings out there, it’s just a matter of finding the right fit. Everyone else is searching for work as well.”

Candace Pacheco is an unemployed tour worker. She said she’s a little scared to go back to work in the tourism industry because of concerns around COVID, but her family needs the money.

“I’m praying to God that He will bless me with a good job and a good paying job,” Pacheco said. “But it’s kind of scary, I gotta do it for survival for me and my family.”

Regulations say that you don’t have to take unsuitable work or a position way below your pay grade. But some say they’ll just be applying to meet the requirement.

Evann Goo has a job lined up for July, but she’s required to log a job search.

“I don’t want to waste my time, I don’t want to waste their time,” she said. “I know if I was an employer and somebody came into an interview and just said, ‘hey, I have a job lined up, I only applied because I had to,’ that I would be disappointed. "

And then there are the folks who can’t find a job similar to what they had pre-pandemic.

Valeria Malkowski is an unemployed retail manager who said she’s applied to a good handful of positions, but there’s a lot of competition right now. She did an interview for a job that was half of her salary pre-pandemic, which she didn’t end up taking.

“I’ve never had to apply for a position just because I have to apply,” Malkowski said. “Right now, I understand that maybe I won’t be able to get paid what I was getting paid before.”

If you have questions about your specific question, the Department of Labor and Industrial Relations has a list of answers for frequently asked questions.

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