US Department of Labor awards nearly $26M in funding to support workers’ equitable access to states’ unemployment insurance systems
WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Labor today announced the award of nearly $26 million in grant funding to improve how unemployment insurance benefits are delivered to people facing obstacles to access in California, Iowa, Michigan, Nevada and West Virginia.
Administered by the department’s Employment and Training Administration, the latest round of equity grants will allow states to implement projects that seek to remove barriers related to race, age, ethnicity, language proficiency, disability status, geographic location or other systemic issues and enable those in need to access unemployment insurance benefits.
Funded by the American Rescue Plan Act, the grants will support projects that promote awareness, simplify instructions, provide translation services, enhance technology, increase staffing and address other needs specific to disadvantaged communities. The department is awarding $9,120,000 to California, $2,937,757 to Iowa, $6,779,261 to Michigan, $4,562,000 to Nevada and $2,283,000 to Virginia.
In August 2021, the department issued guidance to inform states about the availability of $260 million in grant funding to promote equitable access to unemployment insurance benefits.
One year later – through eight rounds – the department has awarded equity grants totaling nearly $133 million to 25 states and the District of Columbia.