BATON ROUGE – The American Institute for Full Employment recently recognized the Louisiana Workforce Commission for its exceptional commitment and innovation in helping unemployed individuals return to work and avoid long-term unemployment, awarding the agency with the 2013 Full Employment Award.
According to AIFE, LWC’s re-employment initiatives stand out as effective models for other states to replicate. The LWC’s model integrates its unemployment and workforce development services to actively engage unemployment benefit recipients in reemployment services early in the unemployment insurance claims process.
“The program has been very successful in helping unemployed people find new jobs faster and in helping Louisiana employers by reducing their unemployment insurance tax liabilities,” LWC Executive Director Curt Eysink said. “It is difficult to calculate exactly how much improvement to attribute to this program when our economy overall has improved. But, the area that piloted the program showed much faster improvement than the rest of the state in the average number of weeks of unemployment claims, the re-employment rate of claimants and in the number of claimants who found work before running out of benefits.”
AIFE’s review of the program determined that the average duration of claims has dropped 15 percent since the program went statewide in April 2012, saving the Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund millions of dollars.
LWC’s reemployment model aims to help UI claimants return to work faster, emphasizing a shared responsibility between the state and the job seekers to achieve positive results and to reduce the duration of unemployment claims.
In LWC’s model, within two weeks after receiving their first unemployment benefit payment, job seekers are required to complete a résumé, set up automated job alerts, participate in a service orientation and receive labor market information. After the eighth week of unemployment insurance, job seekers who have not returned to work are required to pursue more intensive workforce development services from LWC staff, including referrals to workshops and skills building or training.
AIFE President John Courtney said, “Our nation has had record numbers of long-term unemployed. One root cause of this that we can address is how well we prepare job seekers to effectively navigate the job market. Studies show that job seekers who are likely long-term unemployed rate their job search readiness at a D+ average. Through a strong commitment to proactively engage and assist unemployment insurance recipients in returning to work, the Louisiana Workforce Commission is addressing an important root cause of long-term unemployment.”
The Mississippi Department of Employment Security was selected as a co-winner for the 2013 Full Employment Award. Learn more at www.fullemployment.org.
About The American Institute for Full Employment
The American Institute for Full Employment is a nonprofit consulting and research group, founded in 1994 to promote best practices in solving unemployment in America. Its mission is Full Employment – universal access to jobs with career potential for all who can work, so they can avoid the many poverties of unemployment. The Institute conducts leading research, studies best practices, and develops practical solutions in the areas of unemployment insurance, workforce development, retirement income, and public assistance. The Institute assists states with policy and program design and implementation.
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