Job search requirements could be restored as Texas reopens

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Houstonians who are currently on unemployment could soon have to fulfill a job search requirement to continue getting benefits.

Andre Porter is one of the many Houstonians who lost their job during the pandemic and has tried to collect unemployment, but can't reach anyone on the phone.

"I'm behind on a lot of bills," Porter said.

He added that unemployment would be nice, but he much rather be back at work.

"Right now, I'm praying that we get through this pandemic as soon as possible so I can get back to work," Porter said. "I work two security jobs, and I'm a hardworking man that's dedicated and love to work."

Those on unemployment could soon have to fulfill a job search requirement to get benefits, which is why ABC13 is looking to help.

Porter is one of the hundreds of thousands of Houstonians who lost their job during the pandemic. He's tried to collect unemployment, but can't get someone on the phone.

To help people find jobs, ABC13 partnered with Workforce Solutions.

Two weeks ago, more than 120 people applied for jobs during our virtual job fair. Some of the people have already started working again.

Last Wednesday, ABC13 held another virtual job fair and more than 44 people submitted resumes to call center positions, according to Workforce Solutions.

Next week, ABC13 is planning to do it all over again, but mainly focusing on professional jobs.

The unemployment agency is looking to restart the job search requirement this month, according to the Texas Workforce Solutions spokesperson.

In a call with the Texas legislators and staff, Texas Workforce Commission Executive Director Ed Serna mentioned the potential for proposing the "Reinstating Work Search" requirements once Texas Governor Greg Abbott raises restaurants and retail capacity to 50 percent.

If work search requirements were reinstated, Texans would be notified at least two weeks before.

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