Measures progress and challenges in implementing the workforce and UI provisions of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

[The authors] provide useful information about the nature of the workforce development and UI policy decisions made nationwide in response to the recession, state and local administrators’ perspectives on the policy developments and economic challenges, and implementation of key Recovery Act provisions. The majority of the report focuses on workforce investment initiatives in the Recovery Act other than UI, and UI is covered in the last chapter (p.19). (Abstractor: Website Staff)

Full Publication Title: Early Implementation of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act : Workforce Development and Unemployment Insurance Provisions

Major Findings & Recommendations

• “All states visited indicated that they worked within their existing organizational structure to both plan and implement Recovery Act activities…states did not have the time to develop new or elaborate organizational structures” because time was short to both develop a plan and effectively use resources (p.10). • WIA Adult and Dislocated Worker Program - State and local workforce investment areas increased the number of customers receiving assessment and counseling, and added new technology to improve assessment and job search activities. “About one-half of the states set minimum requirements for training [funds] with Recovery Act funds, ranging as high as 70 percent; the number of WIA adult customers receiving training increased by nearly 60 percent in the first 12 months following the availability of Recovery Act funds” (p.11). • Pell Grant Program - The Pell Grant program was expanded. “About 80 percent of the states sent letters to UI claimants informing them about Pell Grant opportunities, and about 40 percent of the states expanded their definition of approved training so that more claimants could make use of Pell Grant supported training” (p.11). About one third of states visited increased their contracts with colleges and universities (p.11-12). • “When the Recovery Act funds are exhausted, most states indicated that they plan to revert to prior levels of services despite expected continued high demand” as many states hired temporary workers (p.12). • Wagner-Peyser Services and Reemployment Services – “The number of Wagner-Peyser customers increased by about 30 percent.” States also improved assessment services and hired temporary staff with funds (p.12). • Trade Adjustment Assistance – “The new program added service sector workers, expanded services to include assessment and counseling, and placed more emphasis on training. The new TAA provisions affected workers whose eligibility occurred after enactment of the new law. Half of the states visited saw petitions and participants increase by 50 percent or more. States visited found operating the new and old TAA programs simultaneously to be challenging" (p.13). • “The states that were visited took advantage of the Recovery Act funding to improve their labor market information systems and management information systems” and to modernize systems (p.14). (Abstractor: Author and Website Staff)