Missouri Job Center in Springfield to open on Thursday
As you can tell from the barricades stretched out in the parking lots to control the lines of anticipated people, the Missouri Job Center is ready for big crowds when it reopens on Thursday.
But officials there are not sure they're going to get them.
There is always the possibility that many people may choose to stay at home and continue to collect their unemployment benefits instead.
"If you do get a call-back date from your employer after being laid off from COVID-19, you do need to go back," explained Katherine Trombetta, the Communications Coordinator with Springfield's Missouri Job Center. "We just encourage you to talk to your employer and find out if there's any opportunities for telecommuting if you're afraid to come back into the office. But if you choose not to come back then it is considered a voluntary quit and you would then be ineligible for unemployment."
If you are planning on coming to the job center at 2900 East Sunshine there will be changes you'll notice. The center, which serves seven area counties, will now have shorter hours (8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.) and limited occupancy. Only 40 customers will be allowed in at a time but the center will let you wait in your car and call you when you can enter.
There will also be plexiglass and other safety precautions.
"We have plastic keyboard covers so we can easily wipe down and sanitize the keyboards after each use," Trombetta pointed out.
Do not come to the center if you're wanting to visit the Family Support Division which handles food stamps. That office is still closed but can still be reached by phone or e-mail.
And don't come if you're trying to file for unemployment.
"We won't be able to answer specific questions or help in filing unemployment," Trombetta explained. "We have actually shifted to helping job seekers find jobs and retraining the work force."
You can also avoid the possible long lines by doing your job search on-line.
"However, if you need help setting up an account in MoJobs or if you need some resume assistance or any kind of information like that, please be patient with us but come by and we're ready to help you," Trombetta said.
While unemployment has tripled in Missouri from less than four percent before the pandemic hit, there are jobs out there. Trombetta said there are around 1,000 on the center's current database.
"Actually the jobs available on MoJobs right now are kind of on-track with where we were before the pandemic," she said. "So that's encouraging."
Trombetta also pointed out that even if you are visiting in-person, it's recommended that you get on the website at "jobs.mo.gov" and create an account before you come in.
By the way the new 8:30 to 4 o'clock hours will include a 30-minute break for lunch when the center will also be disinfected.