If you lose your job, the local Employment Security Commission is likely to be one of the first places you go for help. In some states, the agency may have a slightly different name, but its function is the same. In Illinois, for example, it's the Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES). In Texas, it's the Workforce Commission. Michigan has the Unemployment Insurance Agency. Whatever they may call this agency, all 50 states and the District of Columbia have one.
And in each case, the Employment Security Commission (by whatever name) is likely to be largely overlooked when times are good. The "About IDES" section of the agency's Web site starts with this sentence: "The Department of Employment Security is one of Illinois' best-kept secrets" [source: IDES].
Most people don't pay much attention to this vitally important agency unless they find themselves out of work through no fault of their own. But when times turn bad and people suddenly find themselves out of work, most quickly learn about the Employment Security Commission. They can either head for the office or to its Web site, where they can apply for unemployment insurance benefits. And when they do, they're also likely to learn that the agency can do a lot more for them than just help pay the bills.
Read on to learn more about what the Employment Security Commission does.