WASHINGTON – To help identify and address barriers workers face regarding access to state unemployment insurance benefits, the U.S. Department of Labor today announced the award of nearly $16 million in equity grants to Connecticut, New Jersey and Oklahoma.

Funded by the American Rescue Plan Act and administered by the department’s Employment and Training Administration, the grants will allow states to implement projects that seek to remove barriers related to race, age, ethnicity, language proficiency, disability status, geographic location or other systemic issues that make it difficult for people to access unemployment insurance benefits.

The grants – in the amounts of $6,840,000 to New Jersey and $4,562,000 to both Connecticut and Oklahoma – will help states expand outreach, promote awareness, improve technology, provide translation services, reallocate staffing and address disadvantaged communities’ other needs.

The awards are the latest equity grants issued after the department’s August 2021 announcement of up to $260 million in available grants for states to promote equitable access to unemployment insurance benefits. To date, the department has announced awards of more than $180 million in funds to 35 states and the District of Columbia.

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