Unemployment counselors in Grand Junction Thurs., Fri.

QUICKREAD

Local residents with questions about filing for or extending unemployment insurance can visit one-on-one with a counselor at the Mesa County Workforce Center from:

• 9 a.m. to noon Thursday if their last name begins with the letters A through E.
• 1 to 5 p.m. Thursday if their last name begins with F through J.
• 9 a.m. to noon Friday if their last name begins with the letters K through O.
• 1 to 5 p.m. Friday if their last name begins with P through Z.



Counselors from the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment will answer questions about unemployment insurance from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday and Friday at the Mesa County Workforce Center, 2897 North Ave.

The counselors will be available to answer questions about specific, existing unemployment claims. People looking for information about how to file a first-time claim can call 1-800-388-5515 or visit http://www.colorado.gov/CDLE.

Bill Thoennes, spokesman for the department, said most people don’t need extra help figuring out how to file for unemployment insurance. It’s what comes next that often raises questions, he said.

“Most of the calls are about extensions of existing unemployment benefits,” he said.

Meeting face-to-face with counselors from the department is rare on the Western Slope because the counselors are based out of Denver, and unemployment insurance is filed either online or over the phone in Colorado.

The five counselors coming to Mesa County have visited two other cities and are scheduled to go to Fort Collins and Colorado Springs after leaving Grand Junction. Thoennes said the department launched the tour to “provide greater outreach.”

Grand Junction was selected because of its central location on the Western Slope and because it has a large population of people receiving unemployment benefits. In December, 8.9 percent of Mesa County residents were unemployed, a higher percentage than any other metropolitan area in Colorado.

Meanwhile, the Mesa County Workforce Center recorded 506 first-time unemployment insurance filings in January, up from 405 in December.


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