CONWAY, S.C. (WMBF) - The South Carolina Department of Employment and Workforce had just under 4,300 new unemployment claims in its last weekly report, which is down more than 800 from the week prior.
In an effort to keep that number going down, the department has started organizing “open-air” job fairs.
“Having the opportunity to sit down and talk to somebody, that really allows you the opportunity to know who a person is," said Waccamaw Youth Center Assistant Director of Operations Jamie White.
White is looking for youth mentors who understand the ups and downs of working with teenagers. It’s a process she’d rather start in person, than online.
“You’re not getting the full person when you’re just interviewing them online," said White. "You’re not getting that full benefit of getting to know a person.”
The Waccamaw Youth Center was one of six companies that set up booths at S.C. Works' open-air job fair, which featured plenty of masks and hand sanitizer.
Over 100 people came to the fair to look at the possible jobs, including Jeannine Fusco, who worked in hospitality in Las Vegas for 30 years.
“I was hoping to transfer from my one job to another property here and that did not transpire because of COVID,” said Fusco.
Fusco was able to set up an interview, which is exactly what S.C. Works Regional Director Kimberly Burke was hoping for.
“A lot of people are coming to us wanting help with claims and that sort of thing. Unfortunately, that’s not what we do predominantly in the S.C. Works Center. What we do do is this. We like to get people to work," Burke said.
One question the South Carolina Department of Employment and Workforce has been faced with lately has been about the Lost Wages Assistance that the state was approved for on Sept. 1.
The department posted about benefits on Facebook, where people started complaining they haven’t seen the LWA yet.
A representative from SCDEW told WMBF: “We are already communicating with claimants through the portal this week about implementation of the program. This is to avoid external attention by criminal fraudsters who may be monitoring states for release of the additional funds.”
The Department of Employment and Workforce sent WMBF News additional information about the Lost Wages Assistance program and when people will be able to see extra money in their accounts.
Officials said those who are unemployed will need to verify their identity and then File for Lost Wages Assistance Certification.
Those who successfully complete the certification can expect to receive a payment within seven to 14 days.
They will receive a one-time payment for the weeks they are found eligible between August 1st and September 5th.
FEMA approved South Carolina for six weeks of LWA, so if someone is eligible, the maximum amount of back pay they can receive is $1,800.