DLT Expanding Program That Both Speeds Up Job Placements and Brings Down Cost of Unemployment Insurance Per Beneficiary

PROVIDENCE, RI – Department of Labor and Training (DLT) Income Support and Workforce Development divisions are already implementing coordinated plans to use recent federal grant award funding to expand Re-Employment and Eligibility Assessment (REA) services to thousands more beneficiaries of Unemployment Insurance (UI).

As of July 14, one out of every four new UI claimants in RI will participate in indepth, in-person reviews at DLT’s four netWORKri One-Stop Career Centers located throughout the state.

Starting Monday, July 14, each of DLT’s 11 trained REA counselors will see an average of 14 new participants per week at the Providence, West Warwick and Woonsocket netWORKri One Stop Career Centers.

The new funding will allow DLT to add its Wakefield career center as a fourth REA entry point. This means that the Wakefield office will be open three days a week instead of two through the end of the program year, March 31, 2015.

The Employment and Training Administration (ETA) of the US Department of Labor announced an REA grant award of $701,363 last week. Although DLT has participated in the REA program since 2005, it has more recently evaluated and streamlined the way

it delivers services to newly dislocated workers. At the same time, DLT has aggressively identified and secured increased federal funding from ETA, a division of the US Department of Labor. “Our Unemployment Insurance program provides a safety net for insured and eligible workers who are out of work through no fault of their own. Our goal through the REA program and other services we deliver, however, is to equip dislocated workers with the ‘job ready’ skills they need, connect them with companies that need them and help them return to the workforce as soon as possible,” said DLT Director Charles J. Fogarty.

“Ultimately, we’re aiming to include as many recently unemployed Rhode Islanders as possible because everyone in the UI system benefits from REA — workers who need a boost toward better-paying and more meaningful work, the 32,000-plus Rhode Island companies that capitalize the UI trust fund and the general public,” Fogarty added.

“Our mission is to transform DLT from our state’s unemployment agency to Rhode Island’s re-employment and workforce agency.” In 2013, Fogarty sent a team from DLT’s Income Support and Workforce Development Services divisions to Louisiana, which runs a re-employment services program that is highly regarded, to learn how DLT could further improve its own levels of programmatic coordination. Last year, DLT served more than 55,000 new UI claimants. In 2013, DLT selected 7,410 new UI beneficiaries to participate. DLT’s data-driven approach has helped it identify the top quarter of UI beneficiaries who are most likely to exhaust their UI benefits.It is by conducting in-depth, in-person reviews of prospective participants that DLT’s REA counselors can assess UI claimants’ re-employment needs, ensure that claimants are complying with all UI eligibility requirements and prevent and detect improper UI payments. Once DLT selects a claimant for the program, the claimant’s participation is mandatory.

This most recent round of funding will allow DLT to expand REA services by about 40 percent, to 3,375 more UI beneficiaries — for a total of UI 11,500 beneficiaries served for the April 1, 2014, to March 31, 2015, program year.

“The REA program is a targeted investment that speeds the return to work of UI beneficiaries who work hard and act responsibly and encourages business growth by helping train workers,” said Fogarty. “Our expansion of this program is the first of several improvements to our workforce delivery system that we plan to announce over the summer months.”

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