Jobs to deal with unemployment not advertised to the general public | State and Region
The state Department of Labor and Workforce Development is constantly recruiting workers to help process unemployment claims, Commissioner Robert Asaro-Angelo told the Senate Labor Committee last week.
He said a labor shortage is responsible for not all jobs being filled.
But the department does not publicly advertise the UI clerk position. They are listed under “promotional” jobs only available to those already employed by the state.
Currently, the department advertises two full-time positions to the general public. One is for an auditor and the other for 26 employment service trainees to inform workers and employers about social benefits.
The job description states that interns will be required, “Under the direction of a Senior Examiner from the Employer Accounts Division, to contact employers and/or their representative by correspondence and telephone to explain their rights and responsibilities under the provisions New Jersey Unemployment Compensation Law. , and the rules and regulations of the department.
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There is a position advertised to help with claims, but it is a part-time position called an intermittent clerk.
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Labor Department spokeswoman Angela Delli-Santi did not respond to questions about why specialist positions are limited to state workers.
“We hire all levels of experience. Currently, these support positions are posted,” Delli-Santi said. “We have posted other unemployment-related positions before and have those resumes on file. The Unemployment Claims Specialist, as the name suggests, is a specialist position requiring specialist experience and skills.
UI specialists are needed to deal with many of the problems applicants face, Asaro-Angelo said, comparing them to medical specialists.
Delli-Santi said people hired as Employment Services interns may eventually be promoted to reviewers of unemployment or temporary disability/family leave claims.
“They work within the division that handles unemployment and temporary disability/family leave benefits,” Delli-Santi said.
Asaro-Angelo’s testimony was part of a contentious hearing where Democratic and Republican senators took him to task for the large number of people still trying unsuccessfully to get benefits and calling on legislative offices for help. .
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There is a backlog of around 11,000 cases awaiting assistance, Asaro-Angelo acknowledged.
Senators on both sides of the aisle criticized Asaro-Angelo and the department’s handling of the unemployment crisis spawned by the COVID-19 pandemic, saying their own staff have spent much of the past two years helping voters with unemployment claims.
The chairman, Senator Fred H. Madden, D-Camden, Gloucester, said the department had notified the federal government that it was only receiving candidate payments within two weeks for about 50% of candidates, while the federal government says it wants the states to do it. so for 87%.
He also said the department accepts about 8,000 applications a week and about 4,000 of those applicants make mistakes while completing the application, which delays their payment.
An unemployment specialist must speak to each claimant to correct the error, he said, under federal rules.
Sen. Mike Testa, R-Cape May, Cumberland, Atlantic, is on the labor committee and said after the hearing that Asaro-Angelo had no regard for the time that senators and Assembly members spent trying to help voters get the benefits they paid for and deserve.
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“What really bothered me was how they ignored all the involvement of our legislative offices,” Testa said. “Senators and parliamentarians have been responding to calls (on unemployment issues) for two years. It is not our job to be unemployment agents.
During the hearing, Testa asked Asaro-Angelo if he thought it was right for the legislative offices to do the work of the Labor Department, and Asaro-Angelo said no.
“We are hiring every day; since day one of the pandemic, we have job postings on the website,” Asaro-Angelo said. “What our customers need and what your constituents need is more people on the other side of the phone. We are still hiring. »
JOURNALIST: Michelle Brunetti