107.5FM WCCN The Rock - The Coolest Station in the Nation
Memories 1370AM 98.5FM
98.7FM / 1450AM WDLB - Timeless Classics
Listen Live: 107.5 THE ROCK92.7 FM
Family owned radio stations serving all of Central Wisconsin

Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development Awarded Grant to Help Upgrade/Modernize Computer Systems

Tuesday, November 9th, 2021 -- 11:00 AM

(WBAY) The Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development says it has been awarded a multi-million grant from the U.S. Department of Labor to help with its upgrade and modernizing of the Job Center of Wisconsin system.

In addition, the agency says the funds will help upgrade and modernize the internal case management system to help job seekers find employment opportunities. The grant is worth $3 million, and state officials expect the projects to be in place by late 2023.

According to the DWD, the upgrades to the IT systems will allow cases to be managed better, and will also improve access to multiple services from partner agencies such as the state’s Departments of Health Services, Children and Families, Corrections, workforce development boards, and others.

The funds come from the Comprehensive and Accessible Reemployment through Equitable Employment Recovery National Dislocated Worker grant, which officials say will help those affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the labor market disruption.

State leaders have blamed the outdated, 50-year-old computer system for the extremely low response rate at the height of the pandemic. At one point, the agency said it handled more than four years’ worth of unemployment claims in nine months during the pandemic.

In December of 2020, the DWD says it had processed nearly 8.8 million weekly claims since March 15 of 2020. That’s compared to 7.2 million claims processed from 2016-2019.

In March, the agency secured a $2.4 million federal grant to help the computer system upgrade. The long-term upgrade projected is expected to cost $80 million.

In an audit conducted last year, officials found 93% of phone calls to the state’s Unemployment Insurance call centers were blocked, or received busy signals, between March 15 and June 30.

The findings by the State of Wisconsin’s Legislative Audit Bureau found 38.3 million of 41.1 million calls did not reach Department of Workforce Development call centers between March 15 and June 30.

While a majority of Wisconsin unemployment claims were filed online (numbers show 93.4% of initial claims were filed online between April 26 and August 22), the remaining 6.6% were filed with call centers.

This audit looked at the DWD’s three call centers, and found that 6.2% of calls “were abandoned by individuals before speaking with the call centers”, and adds 0.5% of calls were answered.

Feel free to contact us with questions and/or comments.