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Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez
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Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis

Remarks for the Honorable Hilda L. Solis
UI Demonstration Pilot Projects Press Call
, D.C.
Thursday, April 19, 2012

Thank you, Gene.

And thank you all for joining the call today.

As Gene mentioned, two months ago, the President signed the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act.

This legislation was crucial for American families and to a continued and sustained economic recovery.

It extended the payroll tax cut that all workers are benefitting from today.

And it extended the federal unemployment insurance program that serves as a critical safety net for the millions of Americans still looking for work.

Additionally, this legislation provided opportunities for important reforms to the unemployment insurance system.

This administration is committed to turning the unemployment system into a reemployment system.

And state programs can play a crucial role in doing so.

To that end, I am proud to announce that the Department of Labor will provide up to ten states with the opportunity to develop innovative strategies to connect unemployed workers with good jobs.

This effort is a key component in the first major overhaul of the Unemployment Insurance system in decades.

Specifically, this opportunity will allow states to create pilot projects that showcase strategies that put people back to work in the quickest and most effective ways.

These projects will help improve services, lower costs, while ensuring crucial worker protection measures to ensure employers who follow the rules are able to compete on a level playing field.

One of the many challenges unemployed workers face is not having the skills needed to perform in a new job.

As part of the guidance announced today, states can help ease this burden by providing employers with wage subsidies to pay for things like on-the-job training or other work-based training programs.

Additionally, we know that, even in these tough economic times, those on unemployment insurance face unique challenges when it comes to getting hired — simply for being unemployed.

But we also know that these workers can provide enormous value to the workforce — and to our economy as a whole.

Today's guidance can help these Americans by allowing selected states to incentivize employers for hiring individuals receiving unemployment benefits.

Qualifying state projects must contain an evaluation component.

This includes measuring their programs’ impact on individual skill levels, earnings, and employment retention.

Up to ten demonstration projects will be selected on a rolling basis.

Today’s guidance provides details on the application process, activities that may be pursued, and all other details necessary for selection.

We look forward to seeing selected states take the initiative in developing creative strategies that inform the policies of other states and the federal government in the future.

Thank you again for joining the call.

Have a nice afternoon.