FRANKFORT, Ky. (LEX 18) — During his Tuesday press conference, Gov. Andy Beshear announced that the state of Kentucky has agreed to a contract agreement with Ernst & Young to help Kentucky get caught up on unemployment claims.
"It is one of the big four accounting companies, one of the largest accounting companies in the world that deals with tax, unemployment and already has the personnel, skill and resources to help get the job done," Gov. Beshear said of Ernst & Young.
The contract will run for four weeks beginning July 1 and its purpose is to not only get Kentucky caught up on unemployment, but caught up fast. According to Gov. Beshear, Ernst & Young already has experience assisting states with unemployment. The company worked for the state of Colorado where it provided 100 people that helped process over 30,000 claims to help the Centennial State catch up. It also assisted Oklahoma with their unemployment situation.
"We're looking at 56,000 claims from March, April and May that we must get fixed right now," Gov. Beshear said of Kentucky's unemployment situation.
Ernst & Young will provide Kentucky 200 individuals, 100 of which already worked with Colorado, that will be processing claims starting Monday morning. The additional 200 employees will triple Kentucky's number of employees working to process unemployment claims. Gov. Beshear also said that 100 more employees will be added as soon as they are ready, meaning Kentucky's number of employees will quadruple as a result of the contract.
"Currently we have 100 employees in the Commonwealth doing this," Gov. Beshear said. "We will build up to 400 employees doing this by July 13."
The contact is going to cost about $7.4 million dollars and will be paid for by CARES Act Funding.
"Seems like a lot for a one-month contract, it is not if it gets us immediately caught up and gives us 300 individuals from one of the most sophisticated companies in the world that has done this," Gov. Beshear said.
Gov. Beshear noted that it would cost $30 million to hire 300 new employees and would take four to six months to get them trained up to process claims.
"We simply cant wait and our goal here is to get caught up to the fact that, in the future, we don't have to have 400 employees if we believe, like we do, that this surge is temporary," Gov. Beshear said.
The contract is also expected to free up Kentucky's direct employees to do in-person services around the commonwealth. In-person services for unemployment will be available in Somerset and Hopkinsville next week.