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Colorado’s unemployment call center struggles to meet demand from COVID-related layoffs

COLORADO -- Over 600,000 Coloradans have filed for unemployment since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

More than 100,000 people still have not gotten paid. For many, the frustration starts on the phone.

The state's traditional unemployment call center has a separate center for the pandemic unemployment program.

It receives over 12,000 unique callers per day, but the office is only equipped to answer a third of those.

That leaves an estimated 40,000 calls unanswered each week, according to the Denver Post.

The labor department did open its doors for a limited number of in-person appointments during the week. But if you show up without an appointment, expect to get turned away and re-directed to contact the department by phone.

The state unemployment office has received $21 million to meet the unprecedented demand - which they used to hire 85 new call center agents.

The labor department says the state emergency orders and new federal laws like the "Cares Act" have changed the way it operates several times since the pandemic - making it that much harder to train new people.

The department is investing 680,000 dollars into a partnership with Google to create "virtual agents".

That's expected to be up and running by the middle of this month.

Emergency funding only lasts through the end of 2020.

Colorado Springs / Coronavirus / Local News / State & Regional News

Mia Villanueva

Mia is a weekday reporter for Good Morning Colorado. Learn more about Mia here.

Comments

4 Comments

  1. “More than 100,000 people still have not gotten paid.”
    .
    How can they justify their own jobs if they’re leaving that many people with no income? They need to take some of those unemployed people and boost the number of workers in their call center…

    1. Sounds like a great plan. Now get the tax increase needed for it passed by the wonderful REEEEEEpublitards in our state.

      1. Tax, tax, tax. Why stop at tax? The Government should be able to dip into your savings and your 401k to pay for others! It’s the right thing to do! It’s for the greater good of all!

        1. Let me see if I can properly translate your argument here real fast: *clears throat* “REEEEEE SCREEE SCREEE SCREEE .AH MONEY” chances are you’re poor af) “REEEEEE MAH RIIIITES REEEEEE” *slurps and licks window*

          Am I hitting the highlights reel here?

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