It was just last week that the Chippewa County Economic Development Corporation (CCEDC) teamed up with Workforce Resources and over 35 local companies throughout the Chippewa Valley to host an outdoor job fair. A major feedback  that CCEDC received from  companies that participated in the event was that they are still having difficulty finding workers-especially those who are eager to return to work. This lack of worker participation in the job market is now turning into a crisis which threatens the viability of hundreds of local businesses in the region. Many hiring companies believe that this shortage of workers is enhanced by current continued state & federal pandemic-related unemployment benefits being offered in Wisconsin.

Typically, the state of Wisconsin requires persons seeking unemployment benefits to look for and complete (4) four unique work search actions each week in order to remain eligible for state unemployment insurance benefits.  However last year through emergency executive action, Gov. Tony Evers and the Legislature suspended that unemployment benefit requirement due to the pandemic. This Emergency Rule 2106 currently in effect, removes the requirement for unemployed Wisconsinites to search for work so they could receive unemployment benefits.

It is now time that federal pandemic-related unemployment benefits be immediately ended in Wisconsin. Furthermore, the state should immediately reinstate those work-search requirements for anyone currently receiving state unemployment benefits and for those currently seeking such benefits.

There is no doubt that there is abundant number of open available employment opportunities for anyone needing a job within the Chippewa Valley. This last open air job fair held at the Chippewa Valley Regional Airport proved that. Able-bodied individuals should get off the sidelines and back into workforce without offering a new workforce incentive for people who go back to work. All levels of government-federal, state, and local- should want to encourage people to go back to work. We should all remind ourselves of the importance of a job- it is a major tool that people use to accomplish their goals, grow and prosper, and socially interact with others. Employment positively contributes to a person’s self-respect and pride. CCEDC main mission is to help the Chippewa Valley create jobs for this purpose.