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U.S. DEPARTMENT OF LABOR
Employment and Training Administration
Washington, D. C. 20210

CLASSIFICATION

UI

CORRESPONDENCE SYMBOL

TEUMC

ISSUE DATE

October 22, 1993

RESCISSIONS

None

EXPIRATION DATE

February 28, 1996

DIRECTIVE

:

UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE PROGRAM LETTER NO. 2-94

 

TO

:

ALL STATE EMPLOYMENT SECURITY AGENCIES

 

FROM

:

MARY ANN WYRSCH
Director
Unemployment Insurance Service

 

SUBJECT

:

Unemployment Insurance (UI) Information Technology Center (ITC)

  1. Purpose. To advise State Employment Security Agencies (SESAs) of a Department of Labor (DOL) plan to develop an ITC to support DOL's profiling initiative and provide other automation support services to SESAs.

  2. Reference. Unemployment Insurance Program Letter No. 45-93, Profiling Unemployment Insurance (UI) Claimants.

  3. Background. The UI program is heavily dependent upon automation for all of its functions. Much of the automation of the UI program has taken place over the last two decades. As automation technology advances and is more accessible for addressing all aspects of UI operations, many States are seeking to apply this current technology in an effort to increase productivity and improve customer services. DOL believes that a central capacity for exploring and taking advantage of the latest technology in hardware and software for all States is a means by which the Federal partner may assist in addressing State resource constraints and support DOL initiatives, such as the "new profiling system" and "one-stop career centers," which will impact SESAs' current UI operations.

    During Fiscal Year (FY) 1994, DOL will undertake a new comprehensive profiling system which will focus on UI claimants. The objectives of this DOL initiative are to identify new UI claimants who might experience reemployment difficulties and to refer those claimants to reemployment services early in their unemployment period. As previously envisioned, the profiling initiative will include the use of a "model" for identifying the UI claimants most likely to be dislocated workers. This model will be integrated into initial claims processing using automation. In addition, automated processes are necessary to provide for the remainder of the profiling system which includes selection, referral and feedback components.

  4. Project Concept. DOL's Employment and Training Administration (ETA) plans to enter into a cooperative agreement with a State that will be selected to establish and operate an ITC. The ITC could be an organization of a SESA, a contractor-operated facility, a facility operated by a university or consortium of SESAs, or some combination of the above.

    Organization of the ITC could take a number of forms. The exact organizational structure will not be finalized until input from States on various alternatives is considered and evaluated. Regardless of the ITC's organizational structure, a Steering Committee, comprised of Federal and State staff, is seen as an important element. The Steering Committee would perform strategic planning and establish, implement, and monitor ITC policies and procedures. Other responsibilities would include reviewing projects at key milestone points throughout the development life cycle and providing feedback on systems design and implementation planning, as well as evaluating ITC products for technical merit, exportability and usefulness.

    The selected State must be able to provide for rapid procurement procedures so that the ITC can quickly respond to changing situations, either hardware or software. The ITC must also be able to attract top-quality staff, either as permanent employees, temporary employees, independent contractors and/or consultants. A flexible staffing pattern is seen as an important feature of the ITC so that necessary adjustments can be made quickly and routinely.

    Initially, the ITC's focus will be on supporting the development and implementation of a national profiling system. Subsequently, the ITC will emphasize development of other UI applications for final development by SESAs and technology exchange among SESAs and other interested parties. The ITC will focus on innovative solutions and efficient use of the latest technology arising from lessons learned from SESAs' experiences with past UI automation grants, other SESA automation efforts, and other State and Federal agencies and/or private industry experiences. In addition, the ITC will be involved in supporting the UI portion of the information systems envisioned for DOL's one-stop career center initiative.

  5. Short Term Goals. As previously indicated, the first project to be undertaken by the ITC will be to support SESAs in the development and implementation of profiling systems. Appropriate models will be provided to the SESAs for final modification and implementation. The ITC will provide support for product installation and use. The ITC will also provide system enhancements periodically, based on States' requirements and feedback.

    The national profiling system will be designed for implementation on multiple platforms. All systems developed at the ITC would have design specifications available to the States for their own development efforts. Model systems and applications produced by the ITC will recognize the diversity of State ADP environments.

  6. Long Term Goals. The ITC will implement some combination of the following functions, based upon States' requirements:

    1. Perform systems analysis design and development for the SESAs. Supporting DOL initiatives such as the national profiling system and the one-stop career center initiative will be an ongoing and critical task of the ITC. When developing new applications, an individual State may be the initial customer, but all systems will be developed using structured/modular components to attain maximum portability to other States.

    2. Establish and support a Central UI Electronic Bulletin Board System for technology exchange and information sharing with all States regarding lessons learned, "best practices" and automation projects sponsored by SESAs along with appropriate points of contact.

    3. Sponsor prototype projects and demonstrations relating to maximizing the use of automation and information technology for UI operations.

    4. Provide clearinghouse appraisal for ADP systems and software. The ITC will appraise software applications (both UI systems developed by States and commercial packages) for their use in UI operations.

    5. Provide technical training to States either at the ITC or by sending trainers to seminars or conferences. Training would be on the use of new technologies, specific commercial packages, or ITC developed applications.

    6. Maintain a Hotline support staff capable of providing technical guidance for implementing new technologies and utilizing ITC developed products.

  7. State Responsibilities. The selected State will carry out the following tasks in accordance with the terms and conditions of the cooperative agreement:

    1. The State will operate, administer and oversee the ITC as agreed upon with DOL.

    2. The State will designate a project officer to oversee administrative functions and requirements and to serve as the State's representative with DOL.

    3. The State will report to DOL as defined in the cooperative agreement between DOL and the State.

  8. DOL Responsibilities.

    1. DOL will designate a Federal Representative.

    2. In coordination with the State's project officer and the Steering Committee, DOL will monitor and inspect State and ITC-contractor (if any) performance and products on an on-going basis to ensure compliance with the scope of work and ascertain the level of performance.

    3. DOL will review and approve the ITC's project staff as specified in the cooperative agreement and any adjustments thereto.

  9. Selection of State. To initiate the project, ETA will request interested States to submit proposals for the design, development, establishment and management of an ITC. State selection will be competitive, based on criteria outlined in a directive to be issued. Proposals received timely by the National Office will be evaluated by a panel according to criteria to be established. The panel will review each proposal to determine if the proposal meets the criteria and to select the overall best proposal.

  10. Project Implementation Date. The project should begin during the second quarter of FY 1994 with the issuance of a directive soliciting proposals from States. Selection of the State and the signing of a cooperative agreement with DOL is expected by the fourth quarter of FY 1994.

  11. Project Funding. Funding for the ITC is available for FY 1994. Continuation of the cooperative agreement in subsequent years is contingent upon the availability of appropriated funds for the ITC. The ITC is expected to be included in DOL's FY 1995 budget request.

    The ITC would be initially approved for a 24-month period, called the pilot phase. At the end of the pilot phase, an evaluation will be conducted to determine whether to continue operations. The cooperative agreement will provide a fixed amount of reimbursement to cover costs of the project and will specify the period of performance.

  12. Action. SESA Administrators are encouraged to comment on any aspect of the ITC plan. Alternative approaches to the management of the ITC and functions to be performed by the ITC are especially welcomed. Comments should be sent by November 12, 1993, to the National Office (ATTN: Wayne Zajac, TEUMC) or FAX on 202-219-8506.

  13. Inquiries. Direct inquiries to the appropriate Regional Office.