Experts say there’s still work available despite skyrocketing unemployment requests

Tracking Coronavirus

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Job cuts due to coronavirus are now leading to record-setting requests for unemployment assistance.

The good news is that experts say there is lots of work still available.

Kansas City’s Westport is typically slammed during the lunch and dinner rush. But it’s now desolate. Hundreds of metro workers are sidelined with businesses closed and hours cut.

RELATED: Thousands are getting laid off in the KC metro due to the coronavirus. Here’s who is hiring

The Full Employment Council is having to adapt its own outreach to help displaced workers.

“Our business was always face-to-face, one-on-one and now we’re having to go to a virtual, non-personal contact business model,” said Clyde McQueen, FEC president and CEO.

Signs are posted at all FEC offices with email addresses, office and cell phone numbers to help people connect with their services.

They’re also looking to add drop boxes at all sites soon with email addresses, office and cell phone numbers so people without internet access can still get applications processed.

And there are still plenty of businesses with positions to fill.

“We have, across the board — distribution, call center. We have regular stuff like Amazon and Walmart, as an example, and others that are coming,” McQueen said.

“Then we have stop gap employment. We’re working with temporary help firms who will have things that are sporadic but that might meet a need.”

LaShae Harden is thankful to still be working.

“My daughter, she lost her job in this time of need right now, so it’s like, dang. You look at the blessing that it is to still have a job,” Harden said.

Harden drives for Door Dash and with dine-in options closed, she’s seen her business double in the past week.

“It means a lot to me when I see people out here wanting to help in this community,” she said. “We are putting our life out there also for them, so they like it, love it obviously. They tip, and it’s been good,.”

If you’re waiting to land a new full-time or temporary job, you can file for unemployment assistance online or by phone. The system is overloaded right now, so you may experience significant wait times.

Contact information and links to apply can be found below:

Missouri

Toll Free: 800-320-2519
Jefferson City: 573-751-9040
Kansas City: 816-889-3101
Springfield: 417-895-6851
St. Louis: 314-340-4950

Kansas

Kansas City Area: 913-596-3500
Topeka Area: 785-575-1460
Wichita Area: 316-383-9947
Toll–free outside local calling areas: 800-292-6333

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