Labor Announces Progress in Redesign of Unemployment Benefit System

Thursday, April 08, 2010 | 11:15 am
Tennessee Leads Consortium to Improve Systems for Unemployed Workers
NASHVILLE –Commissioner James Neeley today announced advancement in the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development’s efforts to redesign the unemployment benefit system.
The Tennessee Department of Labor has signed a contract with technology vendor, Chicago Systems Group-Government Solutions, to assist in the development of functional specifications for a new unemployment insurance system. The focus of the project is to develop a common unemployment insurance benefit system that could be used by multiple states.
Tennessee leads the feasibility study conducted by the Southeast Consortium of states, including Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia. These states were awarded funds by the USDOL based on their proximity and similarity of their unemployment programs and laws.
“The recession has demonstrated the need for a better unemployment system to replace our decades old Legacy mainframe systems,” said Labor Commissioner James Neeley. “This research aims to improve the technology we use to drive our unemployment benefits and ultimately could guide how unemployment is operated throughout the nation.”
Areas of improvement the Southeast Consortium is considering:
-Server-based hardware rather than tape-based Legacy mainframe systems
-Real-time processing and access to information
-Simplified coding of software allowing for faster implementation of unemployment insurance extensions
-Self-service functions permitting claimants to easily adjust account issues like changes of address and resetting personal identification numbers
-Multiple states using shared systems would allow easier assistance during disaster scenarios
-Elimination of overnight processing allowing for more efficient use of staff and second shifts if necessary
This announcement is part of a $6.8 million infrastructure grant announced last October. Collectively, the Southeast Consortium of states will contribute $9.9 million toward the redesign project. The Southeast Consortium is scheduled to complete the project on September 28, 2011.