SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — The state Employment Development Department plans to hire nearly 2,000 temporary full-time and hourly staff members in the coming weeks to hasten the delivery of unemployment benefits to workers affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

The EDD is collaborating with the California Department of Human Resources, the California Highway Patrol and California Correctional Health Care Services to screen, interview and hire about 1,800 state employees.

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Those hired will be trained to work in the state’s unemployment call centers, process unemployment insurance claims and analyze documents from applicants and their former employers to determine their applicable benefits.

“This urgent hiring effort will further enhance the department’s ability to process an unprecedented surge of benefit claims, while offering an opportunity for employment to Californians during this difficult time,” EDD Director Sharon Hilliard said.

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The EDD currently has about 1,200 regular staff members processing unemployment insurance claims as well as 1,300 state employees who have been redirected to assist the agency in dispersing benefits to the millions across the state who are out of work due to the pandemic.

Since the pandemic began, the state has processed some 5.1 million unemployment claims and dispersed more than $16.1 billion in benefits as of the week of May 10-16.

New hires will have the option to work from home or in office locations throughout the state. Bilingual applicants, particularly those who
speak Spanish, Cantonese, Vietnamese and Mandarin, are encouraged to apply.

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Applications to work with the EDD can be found and submitted at