NewsThe U.S. Department of Labor has recently awarded more than $7.6 million in grants to help five states develop tools and resources for improving re-employment services for the unemployed. Idaho, Minnesota, Mississippi, New York and Oregon will receive funds for creating an integrated workforce customer registration process, improving data integration, helping workers assess their transferable skills, and implementing various social media tools for unemployed workers to utilize in their job search.

“Getting America back to work is a top priority of the Department of Labor,” said Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis. “Doing so requires more creative thinking and innovative solutions than ever before, and these grants will help states take the next steps to improve services to unemployed workers.”

According to the Department of Labor, If the program is successful, the five selected states will serve as a model to improve re-employment services nationally. The award recipients are first tasked with designing a portal to the workforce system to ensure Unemployment Insurance claimants have immediate access to re-employment services when they file claims for benefits; incorporating real-time data and assessing transferable skills to help claimants and workers make better decisions; and setting up and supporting various social media resources to connect unemployed workers with job opportunities.

The solutions developed by the states will be implemented with help from Local Workforce Boards and One-Stop Career Centers. Over $7.6 million in grants were divided amongst the states. The grants were awarded by the Department of Labor in partnership with the National Association of State Workforce Agencies and are funded through the Workforce Investment Act.

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