BATON ROUGE - The Louisiana Workforce Commission (LWC) today announced that the U.S. Department of Labor has awarded a $1,012,400 grant to implement a re-employment and eligibility assessment (REA) initiative for Louisianians who are receiving unemployment insurance benefits.
“We appreciate that the U.S. Department of Labor has chosen Louisiana as one of six states in the nation to implement the program this year,” said LWC Executive Director Curt Eysink. “This grant will enable us to identify the barriers our unemployed face in finding new jobs so we can reduce the amount of time a person stays unemployed.”
The grant will fund an intensive, comprehensive initiative the LWC is calling Re-employment and Eligibility Assessment in Louisiana (REAL). The REAL pilot model will include 24,000 unemployment claimants from four parishes: East Baton Rouge, Caddo, Calcasieu and Rapides. The four parishes were chosen for the pilot based on a representation of the state’s urban and rural regions, emerging economic industries and population.
The one-year program will run through local Business & Career Solutions Centers in the selected parishes. Components of the program include assessment of barriers to employment, benefits eligibility review, customized employment plans based on the unemployed claimant’s needs, re-employment workshops and ongoing follow-up.
Results from the REAL initiative will provide a baseline for measuring unemployment insurance overpayments and erroneous payments per quarter, as well as increasing the number of direct job referrals and hirings.
Awards totaling $50 million were announced by the USDOL to implement or continue the REA initiative in 33 states and the District of Columbia. Louisiana is the only Southern state selected to implement an REA initiative this year.
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