As if being jobless or underemployed isn't traumatic enough, those turning to the Storm Lake office of Iowa Workforce Development center as of Monday found some potentially bad news on the doorstep.
Barring a change in funding from the Iowa Legislature, the Storm Lake office is to be eliminated as early as July 1, according to a sign on the door of the office. Storm Lake area clients will have to travel at least as far as Sioux City or Fort Dodge for state employment services if that is the case.
Offices handle unemployment filings as well as job placement, skill development and employer services missions.
At issue is a surcharge on unemployment taxes paid by employers, which is used to fund 55 rural Workforce Development offices around the state. After a scare over losing the funding and the offices two years ago, the legislature extended the surtax for a two-year period, saving the centers located in places like Storm Lake. With the legislature winding down for the session, a bill renewing surcharge funding again has been written up, but has not yet been passed.
"The bill has not been renewed for the coming fiscal year, which starts for us on July 1. All we can do now is wait to see what happens in the Iowa Legislature. With two and half months left in the year, we thought it would be time to put up signs and let the people know what is happening," said Workforce Center regional supervisors Terry Augustus.
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