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Utah and Arkansas honored by AIFE for UI Initiatives

The Utah Department of Workforce Services and the Arkansas Department of Workforce Services have been named as co-winners of the Full Employment Award, given annually by the American Institute for Full Employment .  The winners have both developed innovative and impactful new ways to engage UI claimants in meaningful work search activities - Utah through a new universal online program and Arkansas through a rigorous new pilot of staff-assisted reemployment efforts.

 

Utah Department of Workforce  Services  - Online Claimant Overview & Evaluation System

Building on its existing online reemployment initiatives, Utah piloted and then implemented a program-wide engagement of UI claimants in required online job search assessments and learning workshops.  

  

Results.  In its pilot phase, with REA program claimants, Utah saw the following results.  Of the total claimants selected, 31.5% initially refused to complete the expanded requirements. However, upon sanction, Utah was able to re-engage 25%, who completed their work search assignment.  Claimants improved their job search preparedness scores from a D to a B average and completed over 1/3 more training modules than required. 

 

In July 2012, Utah expanded the idea statewide, engaging 92% of all UI claimants in its new program that assesses and directs claimants to engage in work search training and education.

  

This dynamic online overview and evaluation system is just one part of a comprehensive effort started in 2009 to retool Utah’s reemployment efforts.  The effort also includes complementary strategies of: 

  • A wage subsidy program that gives UI claimants an opportunity to get a foot in the door with a new employer by offering the employer $2,000 to take a chance on the claimant and provide on the-job training for three months;
  • New job matching software that uses AutoCoder software to improve the connectivity of Labor Market Information (“LMI”) with claimant job histories and job orders when matching claimant skills with job orders;
  • An REA grant which focuses on second tier profiled claimants that utilizes their WPRS program; and
  • An online eligibility review interview (ERI) that resulted in an increase from 3% to 17% in eligibility reviews at no additional administrative cost.

 

Arkansas Department of Workforce  Services – Reemployment Services (RES) Pilot Program

Building on their existing Worker Profiling and Reemployment Services Program, Arkansas implemented a RES Pilot Program to expedite return to work for it’s most likely to exhaust UI claimants. Launched in January 2012, the pilot focuses on reducing exhaustion rates, duration weeks and average benefits paid.  The pilot is operating in six of the state’s 33 offices and utilizes a selected control group for program metrics. 

 

Design.  Pilot participants are selected in the first five weeks of the claim and required to complete an online assessment to identify their knowledge, skills and abilities based on previous work experience.   The results of the assessment are used to identify alternative occupations available to the participant and potential job referrals. 

 

Participants are also required to engage in additional assessment activities to obtain either a skill readiness certificate or referral to adult education to improve basic skills.  Participants must also complete online job search skills learning.   

 

Finally, participants must complete up to five mandatory counseling appointments scheduled every two weeks.  Participants have a total of nine required appointments and missing an appointment results in the deferral of one week of UI benefits (maximum of nine weeks deferred).

 

Results.  In the first six months of the pilot, the program results have been strong.  To date, 1,227 claimants have been selected and 934 (75.5%) have participated in the program with the following results:

  • Average Duration Dropped 15.1%:  Participants – 14.3 weeks vs. Control Group -  16.1 weeks;
  • Exhaustion Rates Dropped 22.2%:  Participants – 28% vs. Control Group – 36%
  • Projected Benefit Savings:  $292,348

  

For more details on this year’s and past years’ awards, go to www.fullemployment.org .

 

 

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