PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) ─ Matt Weldon has officially taken over as the director of the R.I. Department of Labor and Training (DLT) and his main goal remains the same: help unemployed Rhode Islanders get back to work.

“We’re trying to do all we can to get Rhode Islanders who are on unemployment reconnected with the economy,” he said during his monthly interview on 12 News Now at 4.

Watch the full interview in the video above.

Beginning May 23, Rhode Islanders collecting unemployment will once again need to prove they’re looking for work to continue receiving benefits.

The requirement has been suspended amid the pandemic, meaning Rhode Islanders could continue to receive benefits without actively searching for a new job.

“Now that the vaccine rollout has gone so well, it’s safe to go back to work,” Weldon said. “Restrictions are being lifted, so it’s time to go back to work.”

Weldon said those collecting unemployment will not necessarily need to provide their work search documents to the DLT each week to receive their payment, but they should begin logging their job search incase they are asked for it.

In addition, Weldon said the DLT is also working with lawmakers to pass a bill that would allow people to earn up to 150% of the benefit rate before their coverage is cut off.

“This lets people earn more, keep more of what they’ve earned and still have access to the federal boost while they’re re-entering the economy,” he said.