(March 19) – The House Business Affairs & Labor Committee gave bipartisan approval this evening to a bill by Rep. Daneya Esgar, D-Pueblo, to continue a program that allows the long-term unemployed to obtain enhanced unemployment insurance benefits while they participate in an approved skills training program.

HB15-1231, sponsored by Reps. Esgar and Tracy Kraft-Tharp, D-Arvada, passed this evening on an 8-5 vote.

This program has been proven to be a cost-effective way to help displaced workers gain new, in-demand skills and move off the unemployment rolls and onto a payroll.

Rep. Esgar noted that Pueblo’s unemployment rate has edged above 6 percent, even before the recent rash of layoffs in the city.

“It’s great that Colorado’s unemployment rate continues to decline, but we need to make sure our economic recovery is felt all across the state,” she said. “This program has had success in my district in reducing long-term unemployment, and we need to continue it.”

In today’s hearing, the Business Committee also approved two other components of Colorado Ready to Work, a bipartisan 10-bill package to attack lingering unemployment and connect more Coloradans to the good-paying, high-skill jobs our state’s economy is now producing.

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