DWD brings on hundreds of additional workers to field unemployment claims

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MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- The Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development says it's bringing in 385 more workers to field unemployment claims in the next two weeks.

That's a combination of new hires, transfers from other state agencies and contractors.

The state has signed deals with three call centers to further increase the number of people answering the phones, processing and reviewing claims. 

But two of those call centers don't start work or training until June 1.

DWD Secretary Caleb Frostman told CBS Investigates last week, May was going to be his agency's critical month.

"May is going to be a really pivotal month for us with these multiple external call centers, the onboarding of hundreds of new staff," he said.

More than a half million Wisconsin workers have filed for unemployment since mid-March. 

Some said they haven't been able to get through on the phone or they've waited weeks for their claims to be approved.

DWD says these additional workers will help it address the unemployment claim backlog.

It will also extend its call center hours by two hours each day.

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