2012 Best Practices Co-Winner – Utah

Online Claimant Overview & Evaluation System

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

Design. As part of the UI claim process, claimants are required to view an online overview of reemployment services and then answer 24 questions to identify their need for basic reemployment skills. Dependent upon their answers, they are required to take one to five online reemployment workshops (Networking, Job Searching with Technology, Resumes & Applications, Interviewing and Your Workplace Skills). Failure to complete the mandatory workshops within 14 days results in denial of benefits.

Results. In its pilot phase, with REA program claimants, the state required each claimant to complete any four of nine job search modules, from “Resume” to “Interviewing” within two weeks. Of the 507 claimants selected, 31.6% initially refused to complete the expanded requirements. Utah then saw the following results:

  • Engagement. Upon sanction, Utah was able to re-engage 25.1%, who completed their work search assignment.
  • Preparedness. Claimants improved their job search preparedness scores from a D+ to a B+ average and completed 36% more training modules than required.
  • Integrity. Six and a half percent of claimants ultimately chose to refuse to participate, even after screening out nonparticipants who did not show up for the initial REA interview. Statewide, in Utah, a 6.5% claimant opt out, due to lack of need, interest or willingness, etc., will amount to nearly $17 M in savings, larger than the state’s two largest UI integrity cross matching efforts, combined.

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 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
  • New job matching software that improves the connectivity of Labor Market Information
  • An REA grant which focuses on second tier profiled claimants
  • An online eligibility review interview (ERI) that resulted in an increase from 3% to 17% in eligibility reviews at no additional administrative cost.

2012 Best Practices Co-Winner – Arkansas

Reemployment Services Pilot Program

The Arkansas Department of Workforce Services, building on their existing Worker Profiling and Reemployment Services Program, implemented a Reemployment Services (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