SAN DIEGO COUNTY, Calif. — Americans received their final unemployment check with an extra $600 on Sunday. Funding from the CARES Act, which was passed to help give unemployed Americans more assistance during the pandemic, applies to payments made before July 31. Unemployment benefits will return to pre-pandemic amounts after Sunday, which is capped at $450.
Employment Development Department data shows the agency has distributed nearly $50 billion to unemployed workers in California since March. It has processed 8.7 million claims in four-and-a-half months, which is more than it processed in all of 2010, the worst year of the Great Recession.
The cut in benefits occurred after more industries were ordered to close because of an increase in coronavirus cases.
San Diego Workforce Partnership has helped unemployed workers learn new skills for decades. Interest and demand for its services have increased since the pandemic, especially among workers from the entertainment and hospitality industries, which have been hardest hit by the economic fallout from the pandemic.
“There's a lot of great careers out there. I.T. is certainly in demand, but there's a lot of other great careers. Education is in high demand; healthcare work in this day and age, for sure,” said Peter Callstrom, President and CEO of San Diego Workforce Partnership.
The nonprofit works with employers to offer courses in a variety of fields to help people learn new skills. Most are free or low-cost. It also helps find jobs and prepare for interviews.
However, some of the training can take a few months or up to a year.
“The ending of the $600 is concerning because people are still in need,” said Callstrom. “Those dollars are really critical during this time for meeting rent, for being able to fulfill the needs of family and just to get through this historically difficult time.”