CHICAGO (CBS) — Nearly 73,000 people in Illinois fired for unemployment this past week – a number that keeps on climbing during this crisis.

As CBS 2’s Tara Molina reported, a brand new state plan has been launched to help people get back to work.

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Darin Ortmann has been living without a paycheck for months.

“Horrible. It’s awful. It’s awful,” he said. “It’s now been two months without any income for me.”

But for him, and thousands of others in Illinois, the unemployment benefits he’s still waiting for, won’t be a long-term fix — with some businesses already folding in this crisis.

However, the State of Illinois announced Thursday that it’s taking action with a new tool.

Illinois state officials on Thursday launched Get Hired Illinois – a new web portal to connect workers with job and career training opportunities as unemployment skyrockets during the coronavirus pandemic.

Gov. JB Pritzker, the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, and the Illinois Department of Employment Security announced the creation of the new portal Thursday.

The Get Hired portal provides information on both job opportunities and unemployment information. It is designed to be user-friendly for all job seekers regardless of backgrounds, and will also allow employers not only to upload jobs, but also to set up virtual job fairs and training.

As of Thursday, Get Hired already featured nearly 60,000 available jobs in several industries. More than 70 employers have also committed to hosting virtual job fairs through the website.

“The financial stability and success of our residents is key to getting Illinois’ economy back on its feet,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “Illinois won’t be restored until our workers and families have the opportunities and resources they need to build and fill their lives. That’s why my administration is working with businesses and industries across the state to encourage more employers to utilize the Get Hired website.”

At his daily coronavirus news conference Thursday, Pritzker urged employers to list their jobs on the Get Hired portal.

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“It’s a great way to find your next employee, and to help get Illinois families back on their feet,” he said.

Residents and employers may find Get Hired at: www.illinois.gov/gethired.

Pritzker also announced beginning in June, Illinois residents will have free access to online workforce development courses using Coursera.

The Coursera partnership will link workers with free unlimited access to 3,800 online courses in 400 specializations offered by 160 universities, including the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, the University of Chicago, and Northwestern University.

“A level of access that normally costs $400 a year, but is free to those unemployed in Illinois right now,” Pritzker said.

The partnership will also allow access to formal professional certificates.

“These Coursera offerings will work to broaden access to high-quality and affordable education, serving thousands of people across our state,” Pritzker said.

Access to Coursera will run through end of 2020.

CBS 2 is committing to Working For Chicago, connecting you every day with the information you or a loved one might need about the jobs market, and helping you remove roadblocks to getting back to work.

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We’ll keep uncovering information every day to help this community get back to work, until the job crisis passes. CBS 2 has several helpful items right here on our website, including a look at specific companies that are hiring, and information from the state about the best way to get through to file for unemployment benefits in the meantime.

Tara Molina