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Those Enrolling in California Training Programs No Longer Need to Fear Loss Of Unemployment Insurance

Peter Cooper, program coordinator for the California Labor Federation’s Workforce and Economic Development Program, told the California Progress Report that California’s Employment Development Department has successfully implemented changes to the California Training Benefits Program (CTB). Measure AB 2058 was introduced to legislature by assemblyman Marty Block and was co-sponsored by the California Labor Programs. The measure expands the program’s eligibility for those attending schools or training while collecting Unemployment Insurance benefits. According to the California Progress Report:

The problem was that many unemployed workers who were eligible to get training decided not to do so for fear of losing their UI benefits. Prior automatically approved training was limited to programs funded by the Employment Training Panel, the federal Workforce Investment Act, CalWORKs, and the Trade Adjustment Assistance Act. A UI recipient seeking training not authorized under these funding sources had to endure a lengthy and confusing eligibility process through EDD that often delayed training, disrupted or suspended UI benefits, and sometimes even jeopardized an existing UI claim.

Workers receiving UI now have an expanded array of training programs to chose from that will not affect their UI claims. They will also have the option to learn new job skills through quality career training programs to be held at local community colleges.

Though the change in the statute was fairly straight-forward, implementation has required a number of additional steps. During the last few months, the EDD has made changes to internal policy and procedures to make sure the intended changes were put in motion, including:

Providing information to individuals calling EDD through a new Interactive Voice Response self-service telephone system;
Updating the publicly accessible UI law and policy manual known as the “Benefit Determination Guide” for establishing CTB program eligibility;

-Updating the internal UI procedures manual used by staff;
-Updating the EDD public Web site along with twenty different EDD forms and publications;

The new rules will impact all CTB decisions issued for training that begins on or after July 1, 2011.

California’s unemployment problem will not be eradicated by this measure but many out-of-work people looking to learn new skills and get an edge in the uber-competitive job market will benefit from it.


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