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Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez
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News Release

ETA News Release: [06/29/2011]
Contact Name: Joshua Lamont
Phone Number: (202) 693-4661
Release Number: 11-0997-SEA

US Labor Department announces release of $97.7 million in unemployment insurance modernization incentive funds to Washington

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Labor has certified for release $97,729,219 in unemployment insurance modernization incentive funds to the state of Washington. The state qualified for its remaining share of the funds available under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act by including in its law provisions that assist workers who become unemployed because of compelling family reasons as well as workers who are upgrading their skills.

"Washington has made important updates to strengthen its state unemployment insurance system and take advantage of federal incentives," said Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis. "As our economy continues to recover, these common-sense improvements are helping working families, strengthening our communities and building a stronger 21st century workforce."

The Washington Employment Security Department can use the funds to pay unemployment benefits or, if appropriated by the legislature, for administering its unemployment insurance program or delivering employment services.

"With bipartisan support, the first bill our legislature passed this year made the changes necessary to receive these funds," Gov. Chris Gregoire said. "This additional money will go into the unemployment trust fund to help pay benefits and keep taxes stable, and to help the Employment Security Division more efficiently serve the people of Washington."

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