Exec. Order No. 216 Expands Work Search Guidelines to Connect All Unemployment Claimants with Employers, Jobs
Governor Roy Cooper today issued an Executive Order directing the Department of Commerce to encourage and help people who are receiving unemployment benefits transition back into employment.
“Unemployment benefits have provided a critical lifeline for many North Carolinians living on the edge due to the pandemic. As our state emerges from the pandemic, we want to help people safely return to work as soon as possible. Reinstating the work search guidelines will help connect claimants with employers, resources and tools to help them return to the workforce,” said Governor Cooper.
Under Executive Order 216, all existing claimants of unemployment benefits will be required to fulfill work search requirements beginning June 6, 2021. All existing claimants will be required over the next several weeks to register with a jobseeker account on NCWorks.gov.
The Order also directs the N.C. Department of Commerce to explore opportunities, consistent with federal law and through the use of certain federal funds, to establish a reemployment incentive program for jobless workers who find and maintain employment.
Today’s action expands upon Governor Cooper’s Executive Order 200, which reinstated work search requirements for new claimants after March 14, 2021. As North Carolina makes progress on its key COVID-19 metrics, the work search requirements will now apply to everyone currently filing for unemployment benefits.
Under the Order:
Since the start of the pandemic, North Carolina has distributed more than $11.7 billion in unemployment benefits across multiple state and federal programs. Approximately 245,000 North Carolinians are currently receiving benefit payments each week.
For work search assistance in North Carolina, jobseekers can contact NCWorks at NCWorks.gov or 1-855-NCWorks. Information about unemployment benefits can be found at des.nc.gov.
Read the Order.
State to lift gathering limits, social distancing requirements in all settings and indoor mask mandate for most settings
Today, Governor Roy Cooper and North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Mandy K. Cohen, M.D. shared an update on the state’s COVID-19 progress. Throughout the pandemic, state officials have taken a data-driven approach and have been guided by the science in making decisions. Following yesterday’s guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that fully vaccinated individuals can safely do most activities without wearing a mask or the need to social distance from others, the state will remove its indoor mask mandate for most settings. Additionally, the state will lift all mass gathering limits and social distancing requirements. These changes are now in effect as of 1:30 PM today.
“We can take this step today because the science shows our focus on getting people vaccinated is working,” said Governor Cooper. “But to keep moving forward – and to make sure that we keep saving lives – more people need to get vaccinated.”
The ability to lift restrictions sooner than anticipated following the CDC’s guidance shows the importance of vaccinating all North Carolinians. As of this week, even more people can get vaccinated. Younger teens between 12 and 15 can now get the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine. Young people are vulnerable to the COVID-19 virus, just like everyone else, and the percent of COVID-19 cases in North Carolina children 17 and under has been increasing.
North Carolina continues to focus on distributing vaccines quickly and equitably. To date, the state has administered over 7.7 million doses. 51% percent of those 18 and up are at least partially vaccinated, and 46% percent of those 18 and up have been fully vaccinated.
“I am so proud of the incredible progress we have made in beating back this pandemic,” said Secretary Mandy K. Cohen, M.D. “Vaccines continue to be incredibly effective at protecting individuals from this terrible virus. And as more and more people get vaccinated, the results show in our stable metrics with lower cases, lower hospitalizations, and lower deaths.”
In accordance with the new CDC guidance, there will still be certain settings where masks and other safety measures will be required. Masks will still be required in child care, schools and camps as most children are either not yet vaccinated or are not yet eligible to be vaccinated. Everyone, including people who are fully vaccinated will still be required to wear a mask in certain settings such as public transportation, health care settings like hospitals, doctor’s offices and long-term care settings like nursing homes, and certain congregate settings like correctional facilities and homeless shelters.
NCDHHS will continue to have strong public health recommendations for individuals to continue to protect one another until more people are vaccinated. People who are not vaccinated should wear a mask and maintain distance in all indoor public settings and in outdoor settings when they can't maintain six feet of distance.
Masks are strongly recommended for everyone at large crowded indoor events like sporting events and live performances.
NCDHHS recommends public facing businesses post signage reminding guests to social distance and wear a face covering if they are not fully vaccinated; remind employees to self-monitor for symptoms of COVID-19; have a plan to immediately isolate and remove sick workers; and clean high-touch surfaces once a day. Businesses may choose to continue to require that their customers wear masks.
The Department of Health and Human Services will also continue to expand strategies to reach people who have not yet gotten vaccinated.
Information on the state’s vaccine distribution is available at YourSpotYourShot.nc.gov (English) or Vacunate.nc.gov (Spanish). People can find nearby vaccine providers using NCDHHS’ online tool, Find a Vaccine Location. The state’s COVID-19 vaccine hotline number is 888-675-4567.
Read the Executive Order.
Read a FAQ about today’s Order.
Rotary Club of Murphy has several $1,000 scholarships available to Cherokee County students pursuing higher education. The original deadline for receipt of completed applications was Friday, May 14, 2021 but will be extending that to Monday, May 17, 2021 at NOON.
Students will have the weekend to complete the application.
Rotary Club of Murphy offers a $1,000 scholarship to a student at each of Cherokee County's 5 high schools and, in cooperation with his family, a special $1,000 scholarship in memory of Jack Earley who served our community and club for many decades. Jack had a passion for agriculture, vocational and trades programs and this scholarship is a great way to carry on his legacy.
The applications are attached. Once again, the deadline to receive completed applications is at NOON on Monday, May 17, 2021. Instructions on how to submit are on the applications.
Governor Urges N.C. Families to Sign Up Starting May 12 for Discounts on Internet, Computers
North Carolinians can get critical help to pay for high-speed internet from a $3.2 billion federal program opening in May for families and households working, learning and shopping from home during the COVID-19 pandemic.
"Many North Carolina families struggle to afford high-speed internet," North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper said. "The Emergency Broadband Benefit Program will help bridge the digital divide so that people in need can get online to talk with their doctors, learn remotely, find or do work, and connect with friends and family."
The Emergency Broadband Benefit Program (EBBP) gives a discount of up to $50 a month to a household's internet bill. That increases to $75 a month for those living on tribal lands. Eligible households can also get a one-time discount of $100 toward the purchase of a laptop, tablet or desktop computer through participating providers.
Enrollment in EBBP will open on May 12. Households with an income at or less than 135 percent of federal poverty guidelines are eligible for the EBBP. A household also qualifies if at least one member participates in a federal benefits program such as Medicaid, SNAP, or Lifeline, receives benefits under the free and reduced-price school lunch program, lost a job or a significant amount of income in the past year, received a Federal Pell Grant, or is part of an internet service provider’s low-income or COVID-19 program.
"Affordability is one barrier among the inequities that prevent numerous North Carolina residents and households from accessing high-speed, high-quality internet," Jim Weaver, North Carolina Department of Information Technology (NCDIT) secretary and state chief information officer, said. "This benefit can spur demand for building infrastructure to bring that service into areas of the state that have little or no access to broadband."
Administered by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the program was created by Congress in the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 to help Americans access healthcare, jobs, classrooms and businesses during the pandemic. Many types of providers, including those offering landline and wireless broadband, are offering the discount. The FCC gives extensive guidance for providers seeking to participate.
The NCDIT Broadband Infrastructure Office (BIO) offers guidance on how North Carolina households can apply for the benefit and how providers in the state can participate in it.
The FCC's consumer site has detailed information on how households can qualify and apply for the program. Households can also see a list of participating providers in their state. Governor Cooper has called on internet service providers in North Carolina to participate in the program so that more North Carolinians can afford to get online.
The EBBP will end six months after the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services declares the pandemic is over or when the program uses all its $3.2 billion funding, whichever happens first. Providers must notify consumers at least 30 days before the discount ends and must let consumers opt-in to continue service before charging them a higher rate.
To help get high-speed internet service to even more North Carolinians, NCDIT’s Broadband Infrastructure Office is currently conducting a survey to gather better data on broadband availability and quality in the state. All North Carolinians are encouraged to take the five-minute survey by visiting ncbroadband.gov/survey or calling 919-750-0553.