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Millions of Americans have filed for unemployment benefits during the COVID-19 pandemic. The extra federal benefit was allotted “for weeks of unemployment ending on or before July 31,” meaning the last full week of July, unless Congress extends it.

Wochit

Christian Meza, of Pacific, Washington, relished his job as a bartender — the camaraderie, the glamour, the small pleasures of making an eye-catching drink.

Even after the COVID-19 pandemic sidelined him during a monthlong state shutdown last spring and then shriveled his income, he held on, hoping the crisis would ease and business would bounce back.

But by July, the 34-year-old realized, “My industry is not going to be the same. I can’t sit here making $25 a shift.”

So in August, Meza enrolled in a 14-week software programming bootcamp offered by Coding Dojo. By the time he graduates in November, Meza plans to start