WASHINGTON – To help identify and address barriers workers face in accessing state unemployment insurance benefits, the U.S. Department of Labor today announced the award of more than $9.1 million in American Rescue Plan Act funding to the Texas Workforce Commission.
The grant is the largest equity grant awarded to a single state under this funding opportunity, which provides states up to $260 million to improve equity in their unemployment insurance program.
The equity grant will fund projects that seek to ensure race, ethnicity, language proficiency, literacy, disability status, socioeconomic status, geographic location or other systemic barriers do not prevent those in need from accessing unemployment insurance benefits. The department’s Employment and Training Administration administers the grant.
Projects supported by the funds will strengthen data collection efforts to identify underserved communities better, provide additional virtual and in-person assistance, expand outreach, promote awareness and simplify instructions. They will also provide translation services, improve mobile-based capabilities, increase staffing and respond to underserved communities’ other needs.
On March 1, 2022, the department announced the initial award of $20 million in grants to Oregon, Pennsylvania, Virginia and the District of Columbia; a second award of nearly $16 million in additional funding to Alabama, Idaho, Missouri and New Mexico on March 29, 2022; and the third award of $20 million in additional funding to Indiana, Kentucky, Utah and Washington on May 2, 2022.