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As benefits end, group ready to help unemployed

Wednesday, November 10th, 2010

Without an extension from Congress, thousands in the Philadelphia region will soon lose unemployment benefits. Some local groups are preparing to help.

The Philadelphia Workforce Investment Board is busy retraining people to help them land available jobs. Eric Nelson, head of the group, said without a federal unemployment extension, many people’s benefits will run out soon.

“Eighteen thousand between now and the end of December,” said Nelson. “And in the first quarter of next year, we are going to see an increase between 30,000 and 40,000 individuals whose benefits will end.”

One of those people is Helen Durkson, who has been unemployed for more than a year. She’s gone back to school to learn how to change from handling paper medical records to electronic ones.

“I’m scared because I’ve been to a lot of job interviews and mostly the people I talk to are just taking resumes,” said Durkson. ” And they are saying they really don’t have an opening.”

Durkson said she’s hopeful federal officials will grant another unemployment extension but for now she and others continue their job searches.

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