Minnesota will spend $3 million in fiscal years 2023-2024 to help Minnesotans who have served their prison sentences reenter the workforce, the state announced Friday.
The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development said it received up to $10 million in First Step Initiative funding from the U.S. Department of Labor and Department of Justice to support formerly incarcerated individuals transition back to the community.
With more relaxed restrictions and the promise of warmer months ahead, businesses are struggling to find employees to come back to work, even after raising wages and offering flexible hours.
Some blame generous unemployment benefits.
Atlas Staffing Inc has 241 open jobs on their site for locations across Minnesota, but Minneapolis office manager Alison Barge says it’s “next to impossible” to fill positions right now.
It’s not a skills gap, Barge said. Most of the jobs are entry-level positions, and some employers are even offering a $3/hour incentive, boosting pay to $17 an hour, flexible scheduling, part-time availability, but people just “don’t want to work.”
Even as a handful of states have made tentative steps back to normalcy in recent days, new jobless claims continue to flood in across all 50 states, driving the number of unemployment claims to 33.5 million over the past seven weeks.
According to data released Thursday morning by the U.S. Department of Labor, 3.17 million Americans filed for new unemployment benefits for the week ending May 2. That was down 677,000 from the previous week’s revised level of 3.85 million but still well above the numbers seen before the coronavirus outbreak led to the shutdown of most of the national economy.