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    The United States Department of Labor recently reported that initial claims for state unemployment benefits fell by 2, 000 to a seasonally adjusted number of 351,000. this was down from the prior weeks number of 353,000. This has been the lowest level since March of 2008. This comes from a decrease in new jobless claims from the previous month in February. Numbers may mean that fewer people are being laid off.  Efforts by state programs to target populations in need have help attributed to the decrease in numbers.

    The Illinois Deprtment of Employment Security has set up programs to assist unemployment recipients. These services are for different populations including laid off workers, veterans, seniors, and local community groups. Specialized programs help to focus on the needs of particular clients with different needs.

    Lasy year about this time unempemployment among returning veterans was double digits near fifteen percent. Added to this, people who lost jobs or were laid off after serving their country in the military are among those unemployed. In response, the Illinois Department of Employment Security makes veterans a  priority in service. Staff  work to connect veterans with the appropriate job and job training. Each office is assigned a Veterans’ employment representative, a fellow Veteran who is a specialist in providing employment services in caertain area. The representative also can refer  to job training programs with  partner agencies and assist with job search needs. IDES provides eligible Veterans with intensive services to help identify and overcome employment barriers. Examples include, but are not limited to, coordination and outreach with other State agencies and one-on-one employment assistance.

    In addition, post-9/11 Veterans, the Gold Card Program may provide eligible Veterans with:

    Illiois is also offering services for older workers. More older workers are in the workforce than ever before. Many are also deciding to retire later.  Older workers who are laid off face the prospect of a tough job market and competition with older workers. There are benefits to hiring workers that are older including:

    Individuals with disabilities also face lay offs. The state of Illinois provides services for these individuals. Everything from benefit panning and advocacy,  job opportunities and training,  and finding resources can be found on Illinois workNet.  Studies have shown that 87% of the public prefers to support businesses who hire people with disabilities.


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