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Workshops help adjunct college professors navigate unemployment benefits during breaks

December 18, 2017 Updated: December 18, 2017 at 4:26 pm
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Pikes Peak Community College "PPCC". Photo by Jeff Kearney.

New federal guidelines intended to address a pay disparity mean adjunct college professors now can apply for unemployment benefits during breaks, such as the Christmas holiday.

In the past, colleges and universities routinely would deny unemployment claims for adjunct faculty, leading many to work side jobs between semesters when they are essentially laid off, according to the American Association of University Professors.

But changes to the U.S. Department of Labor's Unemployment Insurance Program enable adjunct faculty at Pikes Peak Community College and other schools in Colorado's Community College System to earn up to $300 each week during winter break.

The American Association of University Professors is hosting two workshops this week to help people navigate the process.

The first is from 4:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at the public library at 951 Spruce St. in Louisville. The second will be from 12:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. Wednesday at the public library in Castle Rock, 100 Wilcox St.

Attendees should bring their own laptops and driver's licenses to complete the forms, as they work independently through the guided session. The process takes about an hour.

Applications for help with utility bills and information about area food banks also will be available.

About 80 percent of faculty in Colorado's Community College System - more than 4,600 employees - are adjunct, meaning not full-time or permanent staff, and often have earnings below the poverty level and qualify for public assistance, according to the association.

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