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Ohio setting new condition for jobless-benefit applicants

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State Rep. Tim Brown says helping people find jobs remains ‘the focus of our efforts.’

The Blade/Dave Zapotosky
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COLUMBUS — Gov. John Kasich on Thursday signed into law a bill requiring applicants for unemployment benefits to register with the state’s online job-search system as a condition for receiving benefits.

The OhioMeansJobs.com Web site, which currently has more than 100,000 job listings, tries to match job postings with those seeking work.

House Bill 2, sponsored by Reps. Tim Derickson (R., Oxford) and Tim Brown (R., Bowling Green), also requires applicants to directly contact the local Ohio Means Jobs office for additional services beginning the eighth week of benefits. Once in the system, participants receive weekly emails with potential jobs that match the skill, experience, and education information they provided when they registered.

“In spite of the fact that we’ve seen some positive news on the economy, a lot of people out there are struggling and can’t find work,” Mr. Brown said. “That has to remain the focus of our efforts.”

He said the requirement that most people who apply for unemployment benefits must connect with the Ohio Means Jobs system puts them immediately in contact with those on the front lines of job search.

“It’s a simple process,” Mr. Brown said. “This is not just a requirement that they quickly get in the system. We’re ramping up the state’s commitment as well.”

The law exempts those considered to be “job-attached” because they’re subject to a limited temporary mass layoff of less than 26 weeks, such as workers expected to be recalled once a plant is retooled.

It also exempts those who can’t use a computer or have limited functional command of the languages in which Ohio-MeansJobs.com is offered.

The bill had strong support in both chambers, passing 31-1 in the Senate and 91-6 on its final pass through the House on its way to the governor. All negative votes were cast by Democrats.

Mr. Kasich recently also signed a separate but related bill that rebrands county one-stop work-force development centers into Ohio Means Jobs offices.

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