WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Labor today announced the award of five grants totaling $400,000 to California, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas and Kentucky. The grants are part of the department's Reemployment Connections initiative, an effort to better integrate the Unemployment Insurance program with the broader workforce system in order to improve the re-employment outcomes for Unemployment Insurance claimants and other job seekers.
"The grants announced today are part of the broader goal of turning the unemployment insurance system into a re-employment system," said Eric M. Seleznow, acting assistant secretary of labor for employment and training. "The Reemployment Connections program will enhance states' ability to provide a full range of resources to the unemployed to help them quickly get back into the workforce."
Reemployment Connections, originally called the Unemployment Insurance Workforce Connectivity Project when the program began in 2011, is an effort to move toward a single, integrated workforce system. The program assists states in developing re-employment strategies that include:
- The creation of a common registration protocol (also known as a "common front door") for all UI claimants and job seekers so that all of the resources of the workforce system are available to everyone, including income support and the full array of re-employment services in a cohesive and integrated way;
- Real-time data sharing that integrates new information and interactions with the customer to improve reemployment service delivery;
- Increased use of social media for outreach and service delivery to support two way communication with customers, which enables networking among job seekers with common characteristics and connects job seekers to employers.
Each state recipient will receive $80,000 to develop an action plan that implements one or more of these re-employment strategies. Grantees are required to participate in the Reemployment Connections Virtual Institute, a web-based collaboration tool that offers participating states information, assistance and a platform for possible partnerships with other states to improve the implementation of innovative re-employment strategies. The funds can be used for: in-state travel; technology, software and supplies needed to participate in the Institute; costs of convening team members and a meeting facilitator.
These grants are awarded in partnership with the National Association of State Workforce Agencies, and they are funded through the Workforce Investment Act. For more information about Reemployment Connections, visit http://rc.workforce3one.org/getting-ready-to-apply.