Kentucky Unemployment Job Search Requirements

Kentucky Unemployment Job Search Requirements

Unemployed Kentuckians can collect Kentucky unemployment while they look for work. But in order to collect unemployment assistance after filing your initial claim, you will have to meet several requirements with the Kentucky Office of Unemployment Insurance. These requirements are much different than those for collecting pandemic unemployment assistance or Social Security.

When filing your biweekly claim to collect an unemployment benefit, you will need to show that you are making a good faith effort to be a job seeker. That’s because jobless benefits are intended to help those who are willing and able to work return to the workforce…and in the meantime, pay their bills and cover their living expenses.

Kentucky Unemployment Job Search Requirements

Part of a claimant being able and willing to work means participating in a work search. This is one of several ongoing Kentucky unemployment eligibility requirements for residents collecting UI benefits. Being “able and willing” to work also means that you are physically and mentally able to take on new work. A lack of transportation or childcare is not a valid excuse for avoiding this requirement, but needing to take care of dependents with health complications may be. Of course, being able and willing to work also means that you can engage in a job search.

The job search requirement for Kentucky unemployment benefits is actually fairly easy compared to other states: you only have to make contact with one potential employer per week. However, you will be required to report the details of this job contact when you file your biweekly claim, so that means reporting two job contacts every two weeks. Save the name of the business, the name and title of the person you contacted, the date, and method of contact (phone, email, or in-person).

When you are looking for work, you must take the offer of a suitable job that offers comparable pay to your last job. Unlike other states, the Kentucky Department of Workforce Investment does not provide a particular percentage for how much the new job pays in comparison to your old job. However, your job search activities will be reviewed by the Kentucky Career Center in what is called an Eligibility Review, or ER.

The first eligibility review will be conducted in person at a Kentucky Career Center near you. Subsequent reviews will be conducted remotely over the information you submit online when you file your biweekly benefits request.

Work Registration Requirement

To be eligible for Kentucky unemployment benefits, you will also need to register with the Kentucky Career Center (KCC) and complete a Focus-Career Registration. This is a website provided by the Kentucky Career Center that can help you find your next job. During registration, you will be asked to provide details about your last three employers or 10 years of work experience, and you must complete all required fields on the registration form.

The Focus-Career website has a tool called Interview Wizard, which will allow you to easily build a professional resume by compiling your previous experiences and education.

Browse the potential careers to see which jobs match with your resume and your skill sets. You can also explore other career paths to reaching employment goals that you may not have considered before. You can also set up daily or weekly alerts about suitable jobs.

If you need help with anything on the Focus-Career site, you can call 502-564-0871, Monday through Friday between 8:00 AM and 4:30 PM, EST. Alternatively, you can also email Remember that you can also visit a Kentucky Career Center in person. For those unemployed claimants who appreciate in-person assistance, this might be a better alternative to an online search.

How To Search for Work

You don’t need to rely exclusively on the KCC website in terms of your work search requirement. Sometimes, you may have an easier time finding new work through social networking or using a professional site like LinkedIn. While you don’t have to tell everyone you’re collecting unemployment compensation, you should not be abashed about letting people know you are looking for new work. By keeping your options open, you’ll be able to stop collecting unemployment insurance and enjoy a paycheck that is larger than your unemployment claim once again.

The KCC will periodically contact you with job openings and referrals, which you must respond to in a timely manner. Remember that you are required to accept suitable work that pays comparably to what you earned before. However, according to the literature provided by the Kentucky unemployment office, you must lower your expectations as you continue to collect unemployment benefits, both in terms of pay and commute. At the same time, you are not required to accept work that compromises your moral standards or is physically impossible for you to do.

Once you collect the maximum amount of unemployment assistance during your work search activity, you will need to rely on the employment services offered by the Kentucky workforce services to assist in workforce development.

It’s good to invest some effort in your registration with Kentucky Focus-Career, especially if you want to be able to choose a new career that matches up with your skills and interests. For instance, you should provide thorough, detailed descriptions of each job in your work experience, so that the matching tool can have an easier time pairing you up with potentially suitable economic opportunities. List your education, so that you will be presented with work suggestions that are commensurate with your academic achievements, skills, and talents.

The Objective and Summary sections can help prospective employers get to know you and gauge your level of motivation for finding new work. Make sure you toggle the geographic availability to encompass more jobs in your search, but not jobs beyond a radius you are willing to commute.

By clicking Organizer in the Searches and Alerts section, you will have job alerts sent to your email address. If you are not getting a lot of jobs in your search results, you will need to expand your geographic region and lower the star rating that reflects how well a job matches your resume and work experience. If the job is something you are especially interested in, don’t be afraid to apply even if it has a star rating that indicates a poor match.

Some jobs require additional screening from KCC staff, but this only takes 1-2 days. Above all, you should invest time in looking for suitable work, because UI benefits in Kentucky only last for 26 weeks at most.

Kentucky Unemployment Job Training

Decide what type of training best meets your needs.

  1. Access information on Kentucky schools and programs at
  2. Contact a Workforce Investment Act (WIA) career counselor at your local One-Stop Career Center for information on the Dislocated Worker Program.  To find the nearest One-Stop Career Center, link to   or call 1-877-US2-JOBS.
  3. Before enrolling in a training institution, notify an unemployment insurance representative in the One-Stop Career Center to ensure that you can continue to receive unemployment benefits while enrolled in the program you have chosen.  Not every training program excuses you from the requirement that you are “seeking and available for work” in order to receive unemployment benefits.

Sometimes looking for a new job means looking for something different. This could be because you just don’t want to return to your old line of work, or because maybe there is something out there where you could get paid more. That’s where Job Training comes in. The Kentucky Career Center has a wide range of employee training services.

Kentucky One-Stop Career Centers are intended to give job seekers and employers quick and easy access to necessary services. These services can now be found in one, convenient location. Centers are publicly funded and located throughout the state.

Comprehensive (full-service) Center Features:

  • Find a job – check local, state and national jobs through the internet and other sources
  • Computers, fax machines, and telephones for use in job related activities
  • List your job openings (employers)
  • Workforce Investment Act
  • Unemployment Insurance
  • Vocational Rehabilitation Services / Services for the Blind
  • Adult Education/GED
  • Skills upgrade and educational opportunities
  • Training
  • Specialized assessments and tests for job seekers and employers
  • Career planning
  • Resume and Interviewing
  • Locating qualified job applicants for employers
  • Funding for on-the-job training and customized training
  • Space for job interviews, and in some cases, interviews via video conferencing
  • WARN and Rapid Response services
  • Specially trained Business Representatives available in some areas
  • Connections to other state, community and government services

Job training is a crucial part of employment services both for the dislocated worker filing their jobless claim and for the business providing job opportunities. As such, the Kentucky Office of Unemployment and the Department of Workforce Development have a vested interest in Kentucky unemployment job training. Unemployment compensation is a significant expense. To find out how much your particular unemployment claim would be, for instance, take a look at a Kentucky unemployment calculator. As it turns out, vocational rehabilitation may turn out to be less than continuing to pay out unemployment insurance benefits.

But more importantly than that, getting off unemployment insurance is an opportunity for you to invest in yourself and your future. While it can be nice to get that weekly unemployment benefit, sometimes a training program or participating in a technical college can open the door to options you’ve never considered before.

Employee Training

Note that some of these employee training programs are geared toward motivating employers to assist in job training or vocational rehabilitation. But all the same, the end result is helping claimants get back in the work saddle.

Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act WIOA

The WIOA is a federally funded training program that provides various services such as on-the-job training, apprenticeships, worker training, and individual training account.

Under WIOA, various training programs are offered to people with various needs, and therefore the eligibility criteria vary as per the nature of the respective training programs. Some programs are designed for individuals between 14-21 years old, while some are designed for people who are 21 years and above.

Various training providers in the state of Kentucky can be found in the listing published in

Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA)

Those who have lost their jobs due to foreign trade or outsourcing are eligible for TAA. This program is designed to help individuals gain competence and get back to work.

To avail of this service, a petition must be written to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Division of Trade Adjustment Assistance to seek certification under ‘workers affected by foreign trade’. If the petition is certified, then workers must apply for TAA services through their local Kentucky Career Center office.

WIN Career Readiness System

This free online training is available to all Kentucky residents, using real world situations to teach workplace skills like effective communication, conveying professionalism, teamwork and collaboration, and critical thinking and problem solving. Mastering these interpersonal skills and good work habits results in achieving the Kentucky Essential Skills Certificate (KESC). The WIN career system might be the training that is best suited for most job seekers who do not need some specialized job training and instead would benefit from a sort of generalized adult education that can assist in skills that translate to most workplaces.


The Kentucky National Career Readiness Certificate (NCRC) is primarily an assessment to see if participants have mastered ACT skills—a program that develops workplace skills through a series of five signature levels that build on each other. While you might not think that getting out of your jobless claim should have to involve some specific accreditation, sometimes a job training program like this can add some nice points to your resume and help in job placement.

Bluegrass State Skills Corporation

The Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development offers Grant-in-Aid, which is a cash reimbursement for businesses that want to provide employees with skills training. They also offer Skills Training Investment Credits, which provide tax credits instead of cash reimbursement. Specific types of covered businesses include manufacturing, agriculture, hospitality, coal, and gas.

On-the-Job Training

The Kentucky Career Center provides reimbursements to employers who give on the job training to new employees, which also covers the loss of production and income for training them. Employers offering OJT may get 50% of the wage rate of the new hire being trained. Some reimbursements may be as high as 90% of the wage rate.


The Federation for Advanced Manufacturing Education was created by Toyota in 2019, and is now partnered with over 400 manufacturers. Like Xerox and 3M. Participants attend classes a few days a week, working the remainder at the factory of a sponsor and gaining some hands-on experience. By the time participants are done, they can be certified in fields like electricity, robotics, and industrial troubleshooting, along with having a better grasp of workplace core competencies like communication and problem solving.

Skills Development

Kentucky Adult Education

KYAE is all about helping Kentucky residents without a high school diploma obtain their GED. According to some estimates, there are around 317,000 such residents of the Bluegrass state. KYAE operates in 120 counties to help residents gain the math, reading, and communication skills they need to move into a career path or higher education.

Work-Based Learning

Work based learning helps businesses and employees by upgrading their skill sets. Sometimes it is paired with community service opportunities that can help enrich the learning experience with learning about civic opportunity. The Kentucky WBL programs seek to augment on the job training with mentoring and shadowing that allows employees to learn the ropes of the industry and get some hands-on experience.

Federal Pell Grants

Individuals who have enrolled for a bachelor’s degree or a training program are eligible for the Federal Pell Grants financial aid. The process of applying for this financial aid is simple, and it is also accepted in nearly all community colleges and universities. Contact your local KCC to find out more about the procedure to apply.

  1. My boss had to lay three of us off for a few weeks while he waits on the supply chain to catch up and we can go back to work. But he told us “2-4 Weeks” and couldn’t give us a definitive recall date since it depends on the supply chain. When I file a claim, since there isn’t a definitive recall as of yet, do I need to apply as a “No Recall” even though there is the expectation I will return to work there sometime in the next month?

    • Hi, Phil – Go ahead and follow the process for an employee expecting to be recalled. Your employer may be asked to confirm/certify that they plan to recall you to work within 12 weeks of your layoff.

  2. I just got laid off but I have a definite return date 12 weeks from that date to return to my job. May I leave town for time with family while collecting unemployment benefits?

    • Contract workers cannot generally claim since employers don’t pay unemployment taxes into the system. Please check with your employer if they did.

  3. I just got laid off but I have a definite return date 3 weeks from now to return to my job do I have to do the job search since I am going back to my job

  4. I was given a date to follow up at the unemployment office but have misplaced it. Will I be notified by email when to show up?

    • Debbie,

      You should receive both email and letter by mail. To be on a safer side, please call the Claims Center for clarification.

  5. I already have a account for the job search but it was like 10 years ago when i set it up i cannot set up a new account because of my ssn. What do i do.

  6. I am currently serving overseas in Japan, but will be separating soon and heading back to Kentucky. How do I find what kind of benefits I will be able to receive?

    • Please call the Unemployment Office to understand further about benefits available for you, in your state.

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