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Politics & Government

Job Service cutting jobs and closing offices to meet a budget shortfall

Dave Thompson
Prairie Public

Job Service North Dakota is closing 7 offices and eliminating 60 jobs to deal with a $4.1 million budget cut.

The agency is federally funded – and Job Service director Cheri Giesen says over the past 10 years, federal funding has been flat or declining.

Job Service Offices in Valley City, New Town, Harvey, Oakes, Beulah, Grafton and Rolla will close by June 30th. Giesen says 22 regular staffers were laid off, along with 12 temporary staff. In addition, 26 vacant jobs were eliminated.

"It's extremely difficult, knowing that the reductions are people who have dedicated their time and effort, and done an excellent job for the citizens of North Dakota," Giesen told Bismarck reporters.

Giesen says Job Service will rely on more computer-based self-service systems.

"We're going to have to heavily weigh in technology and self-service in those communities," said Giesen. "We're also going to experience some delays in our unemployment insurance area, in the call wait time and potentially, paychecks. But we're going to do the best we can."

Giesen is encouraging the unemployed and job-seekers to use the self-service application.

Last month, Giesen asked for a one-time temporary funding from  the state's contingency fund, to delay layoffs for one month. The state Emergency Commission approved it, but the Legislature's Budget Section said no.

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