Sarah Abney and Brenden Hill
Small business owners are finding themselves turning off lights and locking their doors. Working college students are now applying for unemployment. They never saw it coming.
Melody Holliday, a UMKC senior majoring in music education, has recently lost her job due to the financial burden following COVID-19. Holliday’s workplace has decided to permanently close, unable to recover from the lack of business COVID-19 has caused.
“The staff was my second family. I actually looked forward to going to work every day,” Holliday said.
As a college student, Holliday filed for unemployment in efforts to support herself financially during this time. “I filed for unemployment about two weeks ago, but since the system is overloaded, I have yet to receive any money,” Holliday said.
“Personally, I am worried about my future because my student teaching has also been affected by the shutdowns. I hope I can find a temporary job before I go into the education field,” Holliday added.
Holliday is joined by many other UMKC students who have lost jobs due to COVID-19.
“I feel really blindsided,” said UMKC political science student Jason Bell. “When I first heard about this virus I was worried about it, but I never really thought about how it would affect my job.”
Pre-law student Tedeja Dean, who lost her job due to COVID-19, has joined the millions of students who have had to apply for unemployment. “I never imagined I’d be filing for unemployment at 21 years old, but I guess here I am,” said Dean.
This growing number of people applying for unemployment is something that UMKC economic professor Erik Olsin says isn’t a surprise.
“Before all of this, the job numbers were pretty solid, but while we are still getting updates on information, it is pretty stark,” he said.
COVID-19 continues to pose a threat to our health and the economy, and these students are joined by even more like them who have been hit with the brunt of this pandemic’s economic hardships.