Proposed unemployment bill to help job seekers by volunteering

The job market has been a tough one for job seekers like Pamela Heard.

Heard came to the Capital City from Tennessee alone about a year ago. She was a cosmetologist, but now is dependent on unemployment for income.

"I've been laid off my job and did not get a notice as to why I was laid off. I decided while I was waiting to do some volunteer work for salons just to keep my skills going. Cause right now, no one is hiring."

And if a proposed state senate bill passes, more South Carolinians without a job may also be forced into volunteering.

The bill, proposed by Senator Paul Campbell of Goose Creek, wants unemployed workers who cannot find a job in the next six months to volunteer at a city or county government agency; as well as at schools. Participants would have to volunteer 16 hours a week. That would be the only way they would continue to get a check.

While many believe the bill would feed negative stereotypes about unemployment, Campbell thinks it gives them a job of some sort while still looking for paid work. Heard also believes the plan has many benefits.

"With me looking for a job I don't like to sit around. I like to keep my skills up to par. I like to keep my technology up to par. It builds loyalty, respect for the community, and keeps you aware. There's a lot of people out there who cant hire someone but you can volunteer for them until things get better."

Its something she hopes can benefit other people in need.

"People will fit you in. People will give you something to do. Because you are there to help the community."

An attorney for the National Employment Law Project said the bill interferes with Federal Law. It will be up for discussion Tuesday.