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Strategies for Connecting Unemployment Insurance (UI) Claimants to the Workforce System: Findings from the Implementation Study of the UI Workforce Connectivity Grant Program

Karin Martinson, Jill Hamadyk, and Tyler Moazed, in partnership with John Trutko (Capital Research Corporation) and Burt Barnow (George Washington University)


January 12, 2017

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has continued to explore strategies to improve Unemployment Insurance (UI) claimants' access to re-employment services provided through the public workforce system to speed their return to work in good jobs with good wages. The use of virtual service delivery methods to administer the UI program has steadily increased since the 1990s and now most UI claimants apply for and maintain their benefits primarily via the internet or phone. As a result, many claimants are physically disconnected from the workforce system and are often unaware of how to access the range of reemployment, job search, career counseling, and training services available to them. Moreover, the automated systems for filing UI benefits claims and accessing re-employment services are often separate, with limited or no connections between them, making it cumbersome and confusing for individuals to navigate between the two systems. The challenge is how to best connect UI claimants to the services available on-line and in the one-stop centers.

In 2010 the DOL established a workgroup comprised of workforce leaders at the local, state, and national levels, and partnered with the National Association of State Workforce Agencies (NASWA) to develop a shared national vision to improve connectivity between UI program service delivery and reemployment services provided through the workforce system, both through one-stop centers and virtually and to promote innovative reemployment service delivery strategies for all job seekers.

To advance this new national vision the DOL partnered with the National Association of State Workforce Agencies Information Technology Support Center (NASWA/ITSC) to provide grants to states to implement strategies and technology tools that embodied the different elements of the vision, now referred to as the UI Reemployment Connectivity Project (the project). 

As part of the grants program, DOL sponsored an implementation study of the UI Workforce Connectivity Project and selected Abt Global, in partnership with Capital Research Corporation and George Washington University, to conduct this study. One product of the study is this report, which documents the operational experiences and implementation of the grants in Mississippi and New York.

Read a companion report:
Experiences of Three States in Developing Social Media Strategies for Employment Assistance Program