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Long-Term Unemployment Benefits End Saturday

The state Department of Labor is redoubling their effort to help unemployed Vermonters as their income dries up.

Hundreds of Vermonters are set to lose their long-term unemployment benefits Saturday. Those who qualify have been jobless for six months or more and officials at the Vermont Department of Labor say it couldn’t come at a worse time.

“It is going to be devastating to those individuals who lose this income,” Director of Workforce Development Rose Lucenti said.

About 650 Vermonters are on the brink of losing their Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC), a little more than $300 a week.

Lucenti is encouraging people on EUC to continue applying for benefits in case Congress extends the benefits. She also wants to help people find a job by providing resume, interview and cover letter workshops.

The Burlington resource center is one of twelve sports across Vermont where the state Department of Labor works to help people find work.

One woman there Friday moved here from china with her husband and 16-month old daughter. Instead of looking at the classifieds she's turned to the staff here to help find a nursing job.

“We would be able to accommodate larger numbers by setting up groups of people to come in,” Lucenti said.

The Burlington resource center constantly stays busy. About fifty people come here in a day looking for assistance in their job search.

Lucenti says all those set to lose their benefits need Congress to extend the emergency compensation.

She says it's crucial that they can keep it.

“I have heard that many times that it is a crutch and I don't agree with that,” Lucenti said.

Senator Patrick Leahy says Congress is working on extending the benefits for at least for a couple of months but there is no time line for when that might be done.

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