A bill that will extend Colorado’s enhanced unemployment benefits was signed into law on June 6 by Gov. John Hickenlooper. The bill was sponsored by Rep. Robert Ramirez, R-Westminster, and promotes job-skills training for Coloradans seeking employment.
“This law will create new employment opportunities for Coloradans across the state,” Ramirez said. “It puts people back on their feet while they advance their career through apprenticeships or unpaid internships.”
House Bill 1272 extends a program until 2014 that was set to expire June 30. In the program, claimants can receive up to 50 percent more on their weekly unemployment benefit for up to 20 weeks if they are actively engaged in an approved training program. Ramirez said at the beginning it took some time to convince some Republicans to get on board, but once he explained the bill, more people understood the concept of the bill.
“Some people felt the bill would just extend unemployment to people, but really it’s a bill that helps people get off the government payroll,” he said. “The first thing I’m concerned with is putting people back to work and helping people get their lives back on track.”
Ramirez said unemployment benefits will help Coloradans find work in industries where demand for skilled labor is high. And now with the new law, Ramirez said, Coloradans will find gainful employment and accelerate Colorado’s economic recovery.
Before reaching the governor’s desk, Ramirez’s measure passed the Legislature with bipartisan support. Rep. Crisanta Duran, D-Denver, also sponsored the bill.