(TRENTON) — Assemblywoman Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-Mercer/Hunterdon) on Wednesday released the following statement criticizing a proposed new requirement by the state Department of Labor and Workforce Development that would mandate unemployed residents search for jobs online, without taking into account that many residents don’t have access to computers or Internet service:
“Here is yet another example of how out of touch this administration is with the realities facing impoverished residents in our urban communities. To those who are financially stable, requiring unemployed residents to search for jobs online may seem like a no brainer. But not everyone can afford to buy a computer and not everyone can afford to pay for Internet access. Here in Trenton, residents have access to only one library. That’s one library for 80,000 plus residents.
“I agree that we should do everything we can to get people working again and control our unemployment rate, which continues to be one of the highest in the nation. Perhaps if the governor had not killed the tunnel project and had moved faster on school construction, we could have made a dent on those unemployment numbers. I also agree that the state should make sure that residents who are unemployed are actively looking for work; but requiring online searches as a requisite for unemployment benefits, without taking into consideration that some people simply don’t have access to computers or Internet service, is unfair.
“Punishing residents for not having the same financial stability that the governor enjoys is callous. I hope the administration sees the light and dumps this proposal.”