Labor Seal NYS Department of Labor                          

Contact Leo Rosales Cell: 518-281-6167 Office: 518-457-5519 Email: leo.rosales@labor.ny.gov www.labor.ny.gov
Governor Paterson Announces $4.5 Million in Federal Funds to Help Unemployed Workers Find Jobs
Funds to Expand New and Promising Statewide Back-to-Work Program; Federal Grant Award Recognizes New York's Success in Helping the Unemployed Find Jobs

Albany, NY (September 03, 2009) - Can't See the video? Click Here to Get Adobe Flash Player. Governor Paterson announced today that New York State will receive approximately $4.5 million in federal grant funds for 2009 under the national Reemployment and Eligibility Assessment (REA) initiative of the US Department of Labor. The REA initiative is designed to help people receiving unemployment insurance get back to work faster by providing them with individualized job search and training services. The money comes from federal funds that support the administration of unemployment insurance. “Because of the economic turmoil New York has faced during the past 18 months, I have made it a priority that we do everything within our power to protect the most vulnerable New Yorkers, including the unemployed. These grants demonstrate that the federal government has recognized and rewarded those efforts,” said Governor Paterson. “New York was one of the first states to try this individualized approach to helping the unemployed get back to work faster, and we are thrilled to have an opportunity to expand this promising program. I want to thank President Obama and Secretary Solis for providing funding that will allow us to serve more workers through this program.”

REA grant funds support additional One-Stop Career Center staff who work one-on-one with individuals receiving unemployment insurance. Staff will help workers determine what job hunting and training services they need, and then develop a job search plan customized to each person’s needs. Additionally, information on the local labor market is used to help focus the individual’s job search. Staff will continue to follow-up with each worker throughout the job search process, until the worker gets a job or exhausts his or her unemployment benefits.

Early results from the REA initiative are promising. For 2008, participants found jobs approximately two weeks faster than those in a control group. Putting New Yorkers back to work more quickly not only benefits participants, but also saves the State money. In 2009, New York could save approximately $10.4 million per year in payments from its Unemployment Insurance Trust fund (based on the current average weekly unemployment insurance benefit rate of almost $316) if program participants find a job one week faster than those who do not participate.

State Labor Commissioner M. Patricia Smith said, “As this recession continues to drag on, we are doing everything we can to help unemployed workers get back to work and support themselves and their families. These grant funds will help us do that.”

Twenty-five states received awards that totaled $26.5 million under the REA initiative. New York is one of nine states receiving grant funds that have previously participated in the program. In 2008, New York received $647,000, which funded a model REA program in one Local Workforce Investment Area. For 2009, New York received more than $4.5 million to continue the model REA program and expand it to eight additional Local Workforce Investment Areas throughout the state.

For more information about the NYS Department of Labor and its programs, visit http://www.labor.ny.gov.

The following statements were provided in support of the announcement:

U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer said: “For years, New York has been a leader in improving the lives of its citizens. This federal funding recognizes our success, and allows us to provide even more support to unemployed New Yorkers during these difficult economic times. I am extremely proud to have worked so hard on behalf of New Yorkers to secure this funding and will continue to fight to ensure New Yorkers are well taken care of.”

U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand said: “This is the right investment for New York. These federal dollars will help workers and families who have been hit the hardest by this economic downturn get back on track. I will continue working with Governor Paterson, Senator Schumer and the entire Congressional Delegation to make sure New York gets its fair share from the federal government to rebuild our economy.”

Congresswoman Yvette Clarke said: “Today, I am pleased to join Governor Paterson in announcing the Re-employment and Eligibility Assessment (REA) initiative. This program provides the citizens of New York access to key federal resources, helping to combat the increase in unemployment that our nation faces. I strongly encourage our local leaders to apply for these grants, providing economic empowerment and job training for Brooklyn residents. I commend the hard work of Secretary Solis and the Obama administration in joining me to specifically address the employment needs of the citizens of Brooklyn, New York.”

Congressman Eric Massa said: “Helping families get back on their feet during this recession is one of my top priorities. We all need to work together to help lower the unemployment rate and that's exactly what these funds are designed to do. Helping retrain workers is critical in this process and that's why I'm so proud to help make this announcement today.”

Congressman Paul Tonko said: “This federal grant money is supporting an innovative program that will help improve the employment outcome for New Yorkers. I congratulate Governor Paterson and the New York State Department of Labor for doing everything in their power to help the unemployed get back on their feet.”

Congressman Edolphus “Ed” Towns said: “Reducing our unemployment rate is critical to rebuilding our economy. This grant will provide those most severely affected by the recession personalized access to the tools and guidance necessary to find a job.”