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Media contacts: Jamie Swift, unemployment-insurance communications, 360-902-0904
                           Bill Tarrow, WorkSource communications, 360-902-9376

OLYMPIA – Unemployment benefits do more than just pay the bills while laid-off workers seek new employment.  They also provide an opportunity to retrain many of those workers to fill jobs in the new economy.

The Employment Security Department reports that participation has nearly quadrupled in the Training Benefits and Commissioner-Approved Training programs. These programs allow eligible jobless workers to train for new careers while collecting unemployment benefits – from 7,000 in 2008 to 27,000 in 2010.

Part of the increase can be attributed to simple mathematics: more claimants, equal more claimants in training.  But the percentage of total claimants in training also has increased, from about 3 percent in 2007 to about 5 percent in 2010. 

While these programs do not pay for tuition and other training-related costs, participants may qualify for financial aid through other sources. 

Among the other financial sources is the federal Workforce Investment Act, or WIA. About 5,300 dislocated and low-income workers are enrolled in training paid for by WIA. WIA services are provided through the state’s WorkSource system, which is a partnership of Employment Security, local workforce development councils, colleges, and other government and non-profit agencies that offer employment and training services to job seekers and businesses.

“Getting back in the job market is especially difficult for people who don’t have the skills that employers are looking for,” said Employment Security Commissioner Paul Trause.  “Through WorkSource and the unemployment training programs, we are helping to retool the workforce for better success in the future.”""

That was the case for Dan Boughner of Issaquah. Laid off in 2008, Boughner realized that despite being college educated and having an extensive background in computer programming, his skills were out of date.

“When I was interviewing, I realized I didn't understand what others were saying, much less have experience in these new technologies,” said Boughner, who went back to school while collecting unemployment benefits, earned a certificate in .NET programming, and now works full-time as a senior system integration engineer.

“Full-time college was hard, but the success I had gave me new confidence,” Boughner. “It also gave me experience with the latest technologies so I could compete for the jobs I wanted."

Claimants can learn more about available training resources by visiting their local WorkSource center.  Also, information about the Training Benefits and Commissioner-Approved Training programs is available online at esd.wa.gov (search for Training Benefits or CAT). 


Employment Security Web site: www.esd.wa.gov

REPORTERS: Looking for a local angle? 

Employment Security can provide county-level breakouts of unemployment-insurance claimants who are in training. The department also can set up interviews with WorkSource partners in your area to discuss local job trends and what they are doing to help the unemployed.

Broadcast version

The number of jobless Washington workers training for new careers while they collect unemployment benefits has quadrupled since the start of the recession – from seven-thousand in 2008 to twenty-seven-thousand in 2010.

In addition, more than five-thousand dislocated and low-income workers in Washington are enrolled in training through the Workforce Investment Act. 

If you are on unemployment and want more information about these training programs, visit your local WorkSource center or visit esd.wa.gov.