The United States Department of Labor (DOL) has continued its offensive on unemployment in the U.S. by announcing that it is awarding over $65 million dollars ($65,259,656) to help in facilitating beneficiaries of Unemployment Insurance (UI) to become re-employed more quickly. The grants are aimed at accelerating the process of getting UI recipients back into the workforce through Reemployment and Eligibility Assessment (REA) programs.
Based on previous research and findings of cost-effective and efficient administrative methods, the REA initiative has existed since 2005. It combines a multifaceted approach aimed at ensuring claimants meet the state eligibility provisions and that they are exposed to re-employment services (RES) including job search assistance and placement services.
According to the DOL news release, the funds are earmarked to:”provide UI beneficiaries with personalized, re-employment plans based on the claimant’s career interests and local labor market information. These assessments are done in-person and participants will receive referrals to re-employment services and/or training provided by the American Job Center.” Additionally, the grants have a provision designed to aid in reducing the occurrence of improper payments by allowing for a review of the claimant’s UI records.
The DOL points to the findings of the 2011 study performed by Impaq International on the impact of the REA initiative in Nevada. The study found that the REA program was effective in helping beneficiaries leave the UI program more quickly than in instances where it was absent, which in turn led to lowered UI duration and savings on the UI trust. One of the interesting assertions of the study claimed: “It appears that providing REA and RES services by the same staff in a single interview may be a key factor that led to greater program impacts in Nevada.”
The DOL has expanded the scope of the program by including funds for two new states (Delaware and Connecticut) as well as the Virgin Islands while reaffirming its commitment to those existing REA programs in the other states and territories.
The One-Stop Career Centers (One-Stops) operated by KRA Corporation, one of which is in Connecticut, are part of the American Job Center (AJC) system funded by DOL through the Workforce Investment Act (WIA). Most customers are WIA-eligible Adult/Dislocated Workers, therefore we understand the importance of consistency and familiarity in aiding them in successfully navigating the options and steps available to them in re-joining the workforce. As the UI circumstances of no two WIA customers are the same, we address the unique needs of our jobseekers one-by-one.
KRA appreciates the commitment that the DOL continues to exhibit in addressing the national economic burden that unemployment poses. The use of targeted funds from models with proven outcomes that pose potential solutions, such as One-Stops and AJCs, is a bonus to the efforts in workforce development.
The KRA team, as always, will continue to apply its extensive experience and expertise in comprehensive WIA Adult/Dislocated Workers, and WIA Youth Services programs to support workforce development systems that combat the effects of unemployment on individuals and the communities in which they live.