As part of its continuing effort to help unemployed Rhode Islanders find new work faster, the Department of Labor and Training announced today that has begun notifying beneficiaries of unemployment insurance (UI) who have been collecting payments for 16 weeks that they have 10 weeks or less of benefits before their claims expire.
DLT sent its first batch of notification letters to these recipients last week. The letter recommends that claimants visit their nearest netWORKri One Stop Career Center to take advantage of programs and services to help them find a job it they have not already done so. The average beneficiary in Rhode Island currently collects 16.2 week of unemployment benefits before finding another job.
"As part of our focus on becoming Rhode Island's re-employment agency, the Department of Labor and Training is taking a number of steps to help beneficiaries reconnect with the job market," said DLT Director Charles J. Fogarty.
"Although all UI customers are made aware of these services upon their initial application, our front-line job counselors believe people may be more receptive to using our services when they know that their benefits will soon expire," he added. "With this reminder letter at the 16-week period, we hope to encourage customers to take advantage of our many job-seekers' programs and services."
Services offered at the netWORKri offices include skill assessments, labor market information for job-seeker's specific or preferred field, one-on-one coaching, help developing a "personal action plan" for a job search and a learning plan for needed new skills, workshops on writing effective resumes and cover letters, workshops on interviewing and communication skills, basic computer training and more advanced training such as how to use EmployRI, DLT's interactive job portal connecting job-seekers with companies looking for the right workers to hire.
This most recent action follows a June action in which DLT announced it had upgraded its Re-Employment Eligibility Assessment (REA) program. Using a US Department of Labor REA grant funding award, DLT will now select one out of every four UI recipients to attend an intensive orientation program on unemployment services and positioning themselves to find new work at one of the four One Stop offices. DLT will serve 11,500 participants in REA in program year 2014.
Effective Sept. 1, DLT will launch a new policy requiring all UI claimants filing an initial claim to post their resumes on EmployRI, the state's job interactive bank, within six weeks of receiving their benefits.
"The Rhode Island economy is improving, but the job market is still very challenging," said Fogarty. "We want to encourage people to aggressively begin their job search the moment they file for unemployment benefits and take advantage of these services that can help them get their next job quicker."