DOL Announces New State IT Grants
The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has announced a new grant opportunity to improve state information technology (IT) systems that connect programs and services for dislocated workers.
These new "Reemployment & System Integration Dislocated Worker Grants" will provide seed money for states to make technological changes that support and advance connectivity among their existing IT systems and databases in at least one of three areas:
Common registration and case management across the Dislocated Worker, Wagner-Peyser employment services, and state Unemployment Insurance (UI) programs;
Implementation of online service delivery "hubs" that integrate information and services across programs; and/or
- Data integration to help front-line staff more effectively connect dislocated workers with information and services, such as incorporating real-time labor market information or training provider performance outcomes into online services.
Noting that this particular grant is unlikely to provide sufficient funding for the creation of new systems, DOL mentions the potential for leveraging existing data infrastructure developed through State Longitudinal Data Systems (SLDS) and Workforce Data Quality Initiative (WDQI) grants, and partnering with other states.
The initiative is designed to provide funding to all states, with up to $65 million available from the National Dislocated Worker Grants fund (National Reserve), which was $221 million in Fiscal Year (FY) 2016. DOL awards these grants under the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA). Although this grant is intended to streamline services for dislocated workers and improve their employment outcomes, changes resulting from these grant funds could benefit other job seekers.