I recently discussed how Iowa is fully utilizing federal stimulus funds to expand unemployment benefits, unlike many other states, which are leaving all or part of that money on the table.
The Iowa Senate highlighted steps taken during the 2009 session to extend unemployment benefits, which went into effect on July 1:
· Improving and expanding services for unemployed Iowa workers. By making reforms to Iowa’s unemployment insurance program, our state will receive $70.8 million from the federal government to extend benefits for unemployed workers in training programs. It makes sense to support Iowans who are trying to upgrade their skills by attending community college and other types of training.
· Paying unemployment claims for replacement workers who become unemployed when Iowa National Guard and Reserve members return to their local jobs after active duty. When our soldiers come home, the state should help the replacement workers without penalizing employers.
· Providing $18.9 million to workforce field offices across Iowa. Iowa has 55 workforce centers, which provide job counseling, training, placement and other assistance. These services help laid off workers move forward and help local businesses find the employees they need.
For more details, read the full text of Senate File 197 here.
Note: the $70.8 million in federal funding for expanded unemployment benefits came from the economic stimulus bill, or American Reinvestment and Recovery Act. All House Republicans, including Iowa’s Tom Latham and Steve King, voted against that bill, as did almost all Senate Republicans, including Chuck Grassley.