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1.3 Million Lose Federal Emergency Unemployment Benefits

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- At midnight Dec. 27, the federal emergency unemployment benefit will run out for 1.3 million people.
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- At midnight Dec. 27, the federal emergency unemployment benefit will run out for 1.3 million people.

Nearly two thousand people in Southwest Missouri will lose this benefit. Now, they are scrambling to find work.

“I've been off work since the first week of March,” says Wayne Owensby.

Owensby, a job seeker, is hours away from losing his federal unemployment benefit.

“I received the notice about two weeks ago that unemployment benefits would be cut,” he says.

Owensby says the first step was to look at his finances.

“What can I do?” Owensby asks. “What do I need to do and get the biggest fire start putting out?”

Owensby says this makes his job search even more pressing.

“So I am coming down here to update my resume,” he says.

Owensby has been retraining.

“I just finished school at OTC and I have a certificate in industrial maintenance technology,” he says.

He is not alone in losing his benefit.

In Missouri, nearly 85,000 people will lose their benefit and in Arkansas just more than 40,000 people will lose the federal benefit at midnight, Dec. 27.

The Missouri Career Center's John Peine says they dug deeper to find out how many people were affected in the Ozarks.

“In our region, 7 county region we ran some numbers a while back and there's 1,600 people in our region that's drawing extended benefits,” says Peine.

These federal unemployment benefits were designed to help the long term unemployed.

“You go back to we just got into that recession and people started losing jobs by big numbers and then our state benefits started to run out,” says Peine. “They were drawing whatever the state was paying before it just was an extension of what your state benefits were.”

Peine said Owensby made the right move coming to the Career Center.

“In a lot of cases we're going to be able to help them find something new,” says Peine.

Owensby says he's hoping an employer will take notice.

“Have an open mind, look for opportunities, constantly looking for opportunities,” says Owensby.

The Missouri Career Center says right now they are offering multiple training courses and have hundreds of jobs open for people meeting the specific requirement for the work.

There are also free re-training classes offered as part of a grant from the department of labor and a partnership between the Career Center and OTC.

For additional information about training workshops or job opportunities you can contact the Missouri Career Center by calling 417-887-4343

OTC is still recruiting for the tuition free MoWINS program in January.

You can find out more about this program by calling 417-447-2622 or visit the MoWins website.

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