WASHINGTON, D.C. (WKOW) -- Wisconsin will be receiving $89,239,386 in unemployment insurance (UI) modernization incentive funds from the U.S. Department of Labor.
Wisconsin is getting the money as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The funds were released on Thursday to help the state update its UI program to reflect the 21st century workforce.
"Wisconsin already received part of its share of UI modernization funds for its longstanding policy of helping unemployed workers who recently entered the labor force get the assistance they deserve," said Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis. "Wisconsin has now updated its law to make it easier for workers who become unemployed for compelling family reasons and workers who are upgrading their skills to be eligible for benefits. These changes not only help workers, but will contribute to the state's overall economic recovery."
The Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development (DWD) can use the money to pay unemployment benefits. If the legislature appropriates the money, DWD can also use funding to administer the state unemployment insurance program or to deliver employment services.
The Recovery Act made a total of $7 billion available in UI modernization incentive payments to states that include certain eligibility provisions in their UI programs. Each state can qualify for a share of the funding by showing that its law includes those provisions.
You can see approved funding applications from Wisconsin and other states by clicking here.
State and federal officials had this to say about Thursday's funding release:
"The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act is meant to soften the harshest aspects of the economic crisis which hit last year," said U.S. Rep. Dave Obey, who represents Wisconsin's 7th Congressional District. "Increased unemployment insurance for those who have lost their jobs is only one part of national efforts to moderate the damage, but it is a crucial part."
"With many of our jobs dependent on hard-hit industries like manufacturing and agriculture, there are pockets of our state where unemployment remains distressingly high," said U.S. Sen. Herb Kohl. "These additional funds help support unemployed workers seeking new jobs or learning new skills with an eye toward stable employment."
"This unemployment funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act will help support many Wisconsinites as they work to get back on their feet during this economic downturn," said U.S. Sen. Russ Feingold. "Extending unemployment insurance helps workers who have lost their jobs pay for life's basic necessities and is a very effective way of stimulating the economy. I am pleased to see the stimulus is continuing to invest in those who need it most."
"During these difficult economic times, it's important we continue to invest in our workers," said Wisconsin Gov. Jim Doyle. "The steps we took earlier this year to bring our unemployment insurance program up to date now mean more assistance for working families hit hard by the recession. With these changes, we are receiving Recovery Act funds that we can use to pay benefits, help people return to work and move our economy forward."
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