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Oklahoma's federal pandemic unemployment benefits end this week, employers still struggle

Posted at 6:48 PM, Jun 22, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-23 07:22:53-04

SAND SPRINGS, Okla. — Federal pandemic-related unemployment benefits end this week, but is the governor’s incentive program to get people back to work working?

Over a month ago, Governor Kevin Stitt announced his new workforce incentive plan. It includes a $1,200 reward for the first 20,000 Oklahomans who get back to work.

READ MORE: Gov. Stitt announces $1,200 workforce incentive, unemployment benefits end early

Webco Industries, an Oklahoma steel tubing manufacturer, has needed to fill 50 positions since the beginning of the year. Its CEO, Dana Weber, says she has seen an uptick in applications since the governor’s workforce announcement, but she is still in need of new hires. Weber stresses applicants do not need to come with experience, just a willingness to work.

To pick up the slack, Webco’s employees have been working a lot of overtime.

“People don’t mind doing that for a while, but nobody wants to do that forever. So, you don’t want to structure your businesses around the assumption that people have to work overtime. You want to structure it around the assumption that you work overtime because somebody’s ill, somebody’s on vacation, not because you don’t have enough somebodies,” Weber said.

Webco has manufacturing plants in Sand Springs, Mannford, Kellyville, and a distribution warehouse in Tulsa.

Entry-level wages range from $15-20 an hour.

Applicants can start the process online.

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