Lincoln Officials Organize Drive-Thru Job Fair

(Photo courtesy of the Lincoln Partnership for Economic Development)
July 13, 2020 - 4:44pm

The COVID-19 pandemic triggered the worst unemployment crisis since the Great Depression. In Lancaster County, over 26,000 people have filed for unemployment benefits since late March.


While the state's unemployment rate has improved over recent weeks, the area is still in the midst of an unemployment crisis. Bryan Seck of the Lincoln's Partnership for Economic development says about 800 residents applied last week for support.

"We had 5,000 people laid off in a week back in March, but we're still eight times higher last week than we should be," he explained. 

Applicants were initially required to begin meeting job search requirements by August 1st to remain eligible. Nebraska's Department of Labor announced last week claimants would need to participate starting this week to continue receiving benefits.

Seck says the sudden shift has placed an urgency on making sure residents know how to maintain their benefits or find a new position, especially as the federal $600 pandemic unemployment benefit period comes to a close. "People can stay on state unemployment, but state unemployment is 50% of your wages, capped at $400 a week," he said. "For most people, that's not going to probably be enough to live on."

Local organizations have gotten creative with helping residents with their search. Seck and other team members at the Partnership are holding three drive-thru job fairs across the city on July 14.

(Photo courtesy of the Lincoln Partnership for Economic Development)

He expects staff to hand out job information to over 1,000 residents at three different locations. “People can walk up to us, drive a scooter up to us, dance up to us, that's okay, too," he joked. "And what we'll do is we'll hand them a bag that has information from 54 hiring employers.”

At previous events, applicants claimed all 1,500 packages, which include information for employers from several industries.

Diversity among employment options is important, he says: The pandemic will likely force many to switch fields.

“The real challenge for us and workforce development is that for many people, they're not going to be able to go back to the job that they want to go back to, or the job that they have been trained for," Seck said.

Events will be held tomorrow afternoon at the Gateway Mall, F Street Community Church, and Northeast High School from 10 am to 2pm.

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