Help delayed for one man seeking assistance through Baton Rouge employment program
BATON ROUGE - A man trying to make a career change got caught up in government red tape for a program that's supposed to put people back to work.
Turns out the EmployBR program might not be as efficient as applicants would hope.
Leoric Davenport says he waited three months for approval, which has put a lot of strain on his wallet. Davenport lost his job last year due to the pandemic and had been receiving unemployment benefits up until the end of July. In early May, he sought out EmployBR for help.
"I've been applying to truck-driving school. That's what I've been doing," he said.
EmployBR offers employment assistance or tuition through training programs. Davenport thought it would be a simple process and that he'd be approved quickly.
"I met all the qualifications: I was receiving unemployment. I was receiving government assistance. I'm a veteran, so things were looking good for me. So I didn't see any reason why I wouldn't get approved," he said.
The truck-driving school he applied to didn't see any reason either, which is why he was allowed to start classes. But that approval still didn't come for Davenport and others in his class.
"They called me and a couple of other people who were going through EmployBR. She called us into the office and goes, 'hey guys, I'm really upset about this but EmployBR has not approved anybody's tuition,'" Davenport said.
For the time being, his truck-driving education was halted, and Davenport was forced to wait. Three months went by with no news about his application. He says he continued to call his caseworker for an update, but each time he called they couldn't provide any new information.
Last week, he contacted 2 On Your Side.
"Literally within a couple of days you guys started investigating it, suddenly everything worked itself out," Davenport said.
Davenport says he didn't get an explanation but heard from his case manager last week. The city-parish tells 2 On Your Side there's a 30 to 60-day processing time and applications are processed in batches for efficiency and to assure all federal requirements are met.
The city-parish says Davenport's application was approved two weeks ago, which would put his wait outside of the quoted processing time. Davenport says he applied for EmployBR on May 4, 2021. Still, Davenport was not notified until last week. It's still unclear why it took so long for Davenport's application to be approved.
Davenport says he plans to start truck-driving school very soon.