By Kirk Kern, MCIN Staff

Jaime Holland has been unemployed for about a year and a half after losing her dispatcher job at the base. And for the past five weeks, she hasn’t gotten a check for unemployment insurance as well.

“Right now, it’s been my only source of income,” said Holland, a Hawthorne resident and mother of four. “I have no idea when I’ll get a check.”

Holland is in the same boat as a number of Hawthorne residents along with almost 21,000 people around the state who have either lost unemployment insurance benefits or soon will.

U.S. Congressman Stephen Horsford, who’s district includes Mineral County along with several other rural Nevada counties, has co-sponsored legislation to extend these benefits for the more than 1.6 million Americans who have been cut off from benefits for three more months.

“As of today, 20,969 Nevadans have lost their unemployment insurance and that number will continue to grow unless Congress acts,” Horsford said on Jan. 24. “So many members of Congress have no idea what it is like to struggle to find a job. They have no idea what it feels like to send out resume after resume an never hear back.

“The number of Nevadans hurt by the expiration of benefits will continue to climb until we get this done. The unemployed in Nevada have enough stress in their lives. Congress shouldn’t be adding to it.”

The unemployment rate in Mineral County currently sits at 7.4 percent, said Shelley Hartmann, director of the Mineral County Economic Development Authority. But that number only includes those who are currently receiving unemployment insurance benefits, so with many dropping off the roll, the percentage has artificially dropped.

“That did impact a lot of people,” Hartmann said. “It has caused a lot of stress in the community.”

Holland, 28, said she’s been trying to get a job for the past year and a half, filling out applications through Nevada JobConnect, but so far hasn’t had any luck.

“I haven’t gotten calls back on any job,” she said. “With four kids, it would be hard to afford rent and daycare on a minimum wage job.”

Holland has lived most of her life in Hawthorne and doesn’t plan on moving, primarily because of child custody issues. She said she would eventually like to go to culinary school and open a bakery-café with her husband.

Hartmann said there are programs available to provide training for those wishing to start their own businesses.

“There are a lot of opportunities for people to create their own jobs,” Hartmann said. “