The U.S. Department of Labor announced Monday it has awarded $80 million to workforce agencies in 44 states and in Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and the District of Columbia to provide re-employment and eligibility assessments.
Puerto Rico will receive $179,310 in funding that will also be used to implement the federal agency’s new Reemployment Services and Eligibility Assessments program.
“Unemployment disrupts the lives of individuals and families and hurts our nation’s economy,” said U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez. “These grants will help the newly unemployed reduce the time between jobs and strengthen the integrity of the unemployment insurance program by preventing improper payments. By doing so, we can ensure unemployment benefits remain available for those who truly need them.”
The grants will fund services such as in-person assessments at American Job Centers. These assessments of eligible claimants include the following:
- Development of an individual re-employment plan
- Access to labor market information specific to the individual’s location, job skills and employment prospects
- A complete review of the claimant’s eligibility for UI benefits
- Referrals to re-employment services or training at American Job Center
The U.S. Department of Labor has awarded grants through this initiative for 11 years. Alabama and Arkansas are receiving a grant to implement an RESEA program for the first time, while additional funds will continue programs in the other states to continue their programs through 2015.
For the first time these grants will be available to fund reemployment services for these beneficiaries. States will be transitioning to a new, targeted population during 2015 and will begin serving claimants who are identified as most likely to exhaust their UI benefits and claimants receiving Unemployment Compensation for Ex-Service members.