DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Despite adding staff, expanding hours and using artificial intelligence to answer common questions on its website, the Texas Workforce Commission has not been able to keep up with the record shattering volume of calls.
Before the COVID-19 outbreak, the TWC received on average 13,000 call a day. Last week, the state’s unemployment department received 1.7 million calls daily.READ MORE: Rowlett Restaurant Owner Explains No-Mask Policy After Asking Family To Leave
“I don’t know of any call center that can handle 1.7 million daily calls,” said Cisco Gamez with TWC. “Just bear with us. We will help you. We are making changes to make this better. It’s just going to take time.”
Along with 100 new emergency hires and another 250 employee transferred in from other departments, the TWC has contracted with two third-party call centers.
The workers at the outsourced call centers, however, still need to go through training before they can start taking calls for the state.
Meanwhile, frustration builds among many of those out of work.READ MORE: Rangers Stop Lynn, Beat AL Central-Leading White Sox 2-1
In an email to CBS 11 News, Brenda Ellis wrote, “I started calling (the TWC) at 8:00 a.m. and did not quit until 6:15 p.m. when the message said the office was now closed.”
Ellis’ cell phone showed she tried calling the TWC 2,000 times.
On Friday, the TWC asked applicants to stagger their calls and access to the online portal based on the applicant’s area code.
Here’s the recommended schedule.
Gamez said it’s too early to tell how many people are following the recommendation and whether it’s helping.MORE NEWS: Police: Dallas Officer Arrested, Charged With Driving While Intoxicated
Last week, 242,000 Texans filed unemployment claims.