MADISON – Comprehensive customer service and technology improvement efforts underway at the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development will get a major boost thanks to the award of Tiger Team support from the U.S. Department of Labor.
Designed to promote equitable access, improve responsiveness, ensure timely payment of benefits and prevent and detect organized fraud, the Tiger Team will work hand-in-hand with DWD staff to augment expertise and fast-track solutions. Funded through the American Rescue Plan Act, some of the key recommendations by DWD and the Tiger Team experts are expected to qualify for federal funding.
“We are delighted to gain this federal assistance as part of our far-reaching efforts to systematically modernize and upgrade Wisconsin’s unemployment insurance program,” said DWD Secretary-designee Amy Pechacek. “With more than $6.6 billion paid since the start of the pandemic, Wisconsin’s unemployment insurance system has played a critical role in supporting workers who lost jobs through no fault of their own while stabilizing communities. Yet the sheer volume of demand at the height of the pandemic – including some 7 million calls per month – exposed flaws with outdated equipment and decades-old IT infrastructure. Our phased implementation of a customer contact management system, improved appeals processes and dynamic staffing all will benefit from the Tiger Team deployment.”
The American Rescue Plan Act recognizes that unemployment insurance is a cornerstone of the nation’s economic infrastructure. In addition to addressing principles of equitable access and timeliness of benefit delivery, the act includes investment to build on the system’s integrity and reduce the potential for organized fraud.
Wisconsin is one of six states – the others are Colorado, Washington State, Kansas, Virginia and Nevada – to proactively apply for and receive assistance in identifying process improvements through the Tiger Team. The composition of the team and the timetable are pending based on priority needs of the awardees.
In all, the American Rescue Plan Act provided $2 billion in funding to address the nation’s unemployment insurance system needs. The Labor Department is supplementing this investment with an additional $100 million in previously unallocated CARES Act funding.
Find the U.S. Department of Labor news release announcing the award here.