5 Tips to Help You Get Through COVID-19

Published Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Senator Robert Nichols recently shared five tips to help East Texans find their way through the COVID-19 Pandemic. Keep reading for advice to help you get through these tough times!

Finding Jobs in Texas
Here are a few resources to help those who may have lost their job due to this pandemic and/or may be looking for a new position. The Texas Workforce Commission has compiled over 500,000 jobs on workintexas.com. You can also find assistance in creating a resume, education and veterans services and more. For those looking for positions in East Texas, there are two different websites that can provide assistance. They are the Deep East Texas Council of Governments at detcog.gov and the Workforce Solutions Deep East Texas at detwork.org. Through each of these organizations, you will be able to find jobs posted in the area of your choice, where to find childcare services, and assistance for veterans who are looking for jobs.  

Peace Officer Loan Assistance
Beginning in September 2020, the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB) will launch a loan repayment program for recently appointed peace officers. To be eligible for the Peace Officer Loan Repayment Assistance Program (POLRAP), an officer must have been initially appointed as a full time peace officer on or after Sept. 1, 2019, have completed at least one year of employment, and have earned at least 60 hours from an eligible Texas higher education institution prior to becoming a peace officer. An applicant may receive up to $20,000 in loan repayment assistance ($4,000 annually, or one-fifth of outstanding loan balance, whichever is less). The application should be available around September, and to find out more information on qualifications, visit hhloans.com.

Participating in the Census
Every 10 years, a census is taken of the population in the United States and its five territories. This information is used to draw the districts for State Senators and Representatives, as well as congressional seats. It also determines the number of seats each state will have in the U.S. House of Representatives. Through census numbers, governments determine funding and what is needed in local communities. This year marks the 24th census that has been taken in the United States since 1790. If you have not participated in the census yet, it’s not too late. You can utilize the questionnaire that should have been sent to each household, by calling 844-330-2020, or online at my2020census.gov.

Texas Workforce Commission
Approximately 23,500 individuals have filed for unemployment within Senate District 3, which Nichols represents, and almost two million applications overall in the state. Due to this high volume, many Texans have been unable to get through to the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) to file a claim or have their answers questioned. The recommended call and access times for area codes beginning with 9 is Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to noon. Texans will not be penalized for a delay due to call or user volume and claims for those affected by COVID-19 are eligible to be backdated to ensure that all receive the assistance they deserve. You can also visit twc.texas.gov.

STAR of Texas Awards
Nominations are now being accepted for the Star of Texas awards. These awards honor all Texas peace officers and federal law enforcement officers or special agents acting in assistance to state and local law enforcement, firefighters, and emergency medical first responders who were seriously injured or killed in the line of duty on or after Sept. 1, 2003. To be eligible for this year’s awards, the critical incident must have occurred between September 2003 and June 15, 2020. A person can receive more than one Star of Texas award, but they must be for different incidents. To nominate an individual, visit gov.texas.gov/organization/cjd/star-of-texas.