N.C. bill would require unemployed receiving benefits to do community service

Republicans in the North Carolina Senate have proposed a new bill that would require citizens drawing unemployment benefits to volunteer to continue to receive benefits.

Senate Bill 737 states people drawing unemployment benefits must volunteer at least five hours per week after nine weeks of receiving unemployment benefits. Another catch, the hours will double to 10 hours per week after drawing benefits for a year.

Residents would be allowed to volunteer at non-profit organizations, government entities, schools, churches or libraries, according to WSOCTV.

Some Employment Security Commission officials are saying volunteering could help unemployed people find jobs by networking while they are volunteering at various places around their community and county.

Opinions across the state are varying from outrage, to confusion to supportive for this new bill. Many older N.C. residents who have been working for 10 or more years are unhappy with this latest bill while other residents are voicing favorable opinions for it.

WCU community members are mixed about the bill as well.

Austin Stafford, senior – “I agree, with the new bill, but I do not believe that unemployed people should work 40 hours a week, but maybe 15 to 20 hours a week. They are receiving government benefits so they should help out the community.”

Alicia Miller, senior – “I believe that volunteering is a great way to spend your free time regardless if one is unemployed. Mandating individuals that receive benefits to volunteer is not terrible request. I do not see a problem with this situation as long as people have the free will to chose their own activity and the time requirement of volunteering is reasonable.”

Heath Nettles, Student Services Specialist – “Personally, I think this is an idea with some merit. Community service can provided many of the state’s unemployed the opportunity to establish or reestablish a credible volunteer/work history with the prospect of references. I do have concerns, however, about who defines the contribution to the community – simply stated, what is community service?”

Amanda Peralta, WCU Graduate – “I think it is important for some to volunteer. As for me, I volunteered for over a year at one PR company because the economy was down. I couldn’t find a professional job anywhere. It actually helped me get a job. I don’t feel like it should be forced because sometimes people can’t get to a job with no transpertation, but right out of college, I think every student should try to find volunteer/ internships.”