The vision of the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) is that all Americans have access to meaningful employment that pays a living wage. To reach this goal, the U.S. DOL’s efforts extend far beyond the unemployment insurance program. There are many services and programs in place to help propel your career to the next level, whether you are receiving unemployment benefits or not.
When you begin receiving unemployment insurance benefits you will be required to visit your local American Job Center as part of your responsibility to actively seek work while receiving benefits. Center staff provide direct employment services and are also your connection to other federal programs funded by the Department of Labor.
State job banks are searchable online job databases employers are invited to post job offers on at no cost. Both employers and job seekers must register with the system to gain access to the database. Here you can search for jobs based on a variety of characteristics including position, industry and location.
If you are a veteran, you will receive priority service at your American Job Center. There are also a large amount of programs and veteran job banks geared specifically at getting veterans work in the civilian world.
In some instances, when a company is experiencing a large layoff they will bring in a Rapid Response team to help ease the transition. This includes a presentation outlining benefits and services available to dislocated workers. During the on-site meeting, the Rapid Response team will collect information and help formulate plans to get you back to work as soon as possible.
The biggest advantage to attending a Rapid Response presentation is that you can file for unemployment benefits before your last day of work. Since it often takes 2-3 weeks to begin receiving unemployment checks, getting a head start on the paperwork can close the time gap between losing your job and beginning to receiving benefits.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics’ (BLS) Occupational Outlook Handbook contains data on hundreds of occupations. Information includes a description of what each occupation does, work conditions, how to enter the occupation, pay, job outlook (how many positions are expected to be available in this position), similar occupations and more.
You can also search for occupations based on a variety of criteria. The handbook can be extremely helpful when planning your job search and/or next career move. In addition to the Occupational Outlook Handbook, BLS publishes a bi-monthly online Career Outlook newsletter with related information.
These are just some of the programs offered under the U.S. DOL. Others include youth programs for job seekers ages 16 to 24 as well as programs aimed to assist special populations and those with certain barriers to employment, such as a mental health disability.