EAST PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) ─ With less than two months left until federal unemployment benefits come to an end, R.I. Department of Labor and Training (DLT) Director Matt Weldon is urging everyone to return to work ahead of the expiration date.
As it stands now, 70% of Rhode Islanders receiving unemployment benefits will likely lose them come September.
“Unfortunately, most people who are collecting now aren’t going to be able to after Sept. 4,” Weldon said during his bi-weekly interview on 12 News Now at 4.
Watch the full interview in the video above.
Weldon said ever since Rhode Island reinstated its work-search requirement, less and less people are filing for unemployment.
“We know people are getting back to work because since then, there [have been] about 10,000 fewer people collecting than there were,” he said. “I’m hoping those people are all back to work and doing well.”
For those who are dragging their feet looking for a new job, Weldon urged them to get reconnected with the economy and to look for job postings and training opportunities on the Back To Work RI website.
“Even if you don’t think you’re going to transition right into your next full-time opportunity, start working part-time. There are jobs available,” he said.
When asked whether he thought the delta variant would deter people from looking for work, Weldon said he hopes that isn’t the case.
“Right now we have a good vaccination rate and I hope people continue to get vaccinated,” he said. “I also hope people know that financial support is going to come to an end … if that is any help in making a decision to go back to work, I hope they consider that.”