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Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez
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News Release

ETA News Release: [10/19/2010]
Contact Name: Michael Trupo or Lina Garcia
Phone Number: (202) 693-3414 or x4661
Release Number: 10-1447-NEW

US Labor Department announces more than $1.3 million in unemployment insurance modernization incentive funds to US Virgin Islands

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Labor today certified for release $1,335,274 in unemployment insurance modernization incentive funds to the U.S. Virgin Islands. The territory qualified for these funds, which account for the remaining two-thirds of its share of the funds available under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, by making unemployment benefits available to part-time workers and by including certain family-friendly provisions in its UI law.

"Unemployed workers with recent work experience deserve to be able to qualify for UI benefits, and these funds will make that possible," said Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis. "Unemployment insurance modernization also will ensure that workers seeking part-time work and those who become unemployed for compelling family reasons will be eligible for benefits."

The U.S. Virgin Islands Department of Labor can use the funds to pay unemployment benefits or, if appropriated by the legislature, for administering its unemployment insurance program or delivering employment services.

"The U.S. Department of Labor's announcement today represents a major boost to the Virgin Islands workforce," said Gov. John P. DeJongh Jr. "Through the V.I. Department of Labor, my administration made updating the UI program a priority, and today's announcement underscores our confidence that the new law will have tremendous value for our workers. We are grateful for the continued support of Secretary Solis and the Obama administration."

"Once again, I commend Virgin Islands Labor Commissioner Albert Bryan and his staff, as well as the Virgin Islands legislature for working together to bring us into compliance," said Virgin Islands delegate to Congress Donna M. Christensen. "The release of the remaining two-thirds of funding will go a long way in providing much needed assistance to our unemployed workers and their families in the territory. I also thank my good friend and former colleague, Secretary Hilda Solis, for always looking out for my constituents."

The Recovery Act made a total of $7 billion available in UI modernization incentive payments to states and U.S. territories that include certain eligibility provisions in their UI programs. Each state or territory can qualify for a share of those funds by showing that its law includes those provisions. The U.S. Virgin Islands' approved application will be posted on the Labor Department's Employment and Training Administration website at http://www.doleta.gov/recovery. Other approved applications also can be found at this site.