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Get a job, get $1,500: Beshear announces incentive for Kentuckians to return to workforce

Beshear said the program will pay the first 15,000 Kentuckians who start a job with a business in the state between June 24 and July 30.

FRANKFORT, Ky. — Gov. Andy Beshear announced an incentive program Thursday that will provide a $1,500 payment to Kentucky residents who reenter the workforce.

During his 'Team Kentucky' update, Beshear said the program will pay the first 15,000 Kentuckians who start a job with a business in the state between June 24 and July 30.

To be eligible for the incentive, the person must be at least 18 years old with an active, non-fraudulent unemployment claim as of July 23. The applicant must have requested payments for weeks in 2021.

Eligible applicants must start their job between June 24 and July 30. Employers are required to verify the person was hired and worked 120 hours in the first four weeks after employment, which will take place between Aug. 1 and Oct. 1. Money will go directly to employee.

"This arose from numerous conversations with business leaders," Beshear said. "It truly brings, I think, government and the private sector together in a way to where first we try the carrot as opposed to the stick to solve this problem."

The Labor Department said Thursday that the number of weekly application for unemployment aid has ticked down to 411,000 from about 900,000 in January.

Some states have started cutting off pandemic-related unemployment aid programs as job opening surge, however Beshear said the state will not end $300 unemployment checks early due to the positive impact they have on Kentucky's economy.

"I want to make sure we can thread the needle," Beshear said. "Get the people back to work — not punish people in the middle of the summer who don't have other child care options, but get employers the workers they need — and additional workers will be available as school starts back up again."

The governor said the incentive will not solve all issues, but said it will hopefully help fill needed job openings in the state.

"It's not going to solve every workforce challenge, because there are more factors other than just the $300 payments...childcare, virus concerns, retirement," Beshear said.

Information on the program will be posted on Kentucky' Back to Work website by the end of the day Thursday.

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