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Western Mass Unemployed Grow Weary from Job Search

Jobs2HOLYOKE, Mass. (WGGB) –With a manufacturing degree under his belt, and his job outsourced to other parts of the country, Dennis Doucette found himself out of work.

It’s been 2 years. “I’m checking out big boxes and under bridges, and looking for places to live. I’m just joking. But it’s a serious matter, and I’m not the only one. Even though they say there’s no age discrimination, it’s not true. It really is,” Doucette shared.

It was made even more difficult when his unemployment benefits ran out in December.

Congress took their holiday break without making a decision on the matter.

That changed Tuesday when the Senate approved an initial 3 month bill extending those benefits.

It would restore between 14 and 47 weeks of benefits, which boils down to about $256 a week for each of the 1.3 million Americans who have been without them since December 28th.

The vote directly affects folks at Holyoke’s CareerPoint, who rely solely on the benefits, and are frustrated at the long job search.  “I still do my volunteer work, we feed the homeless, so you’re humble, but still. I’m a veteran, I’m the last to complain, but, the grind is tough,” admitted Gene Kelly.

Still, the reinstatement provides little relief to offset worrying once this renewed batch of benefits is up. “If things don’t happen in 3 months, I really don’t know what’s going to happen. I really don’t,” Doucette stated.

Both Doucette and Kelly hope, of course, they’ll find jobs by then.

14 weeks of additional benefits are available to those who have used up their state benefits.

Another 14 weeks is available to the unemployed where rates are 6% or higher.

9 more weeks are available where the rates higher than 7%.

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