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News Release

ETA News Release: [06/15/2010]
Contact Name: Sonia Melendez or Lina Garcia
Phone Number: (202) 693-4672 or x4661
Release Number:10-0838-BOS

US Labor Secretary Solis announces release of $7.8 million in unemployment insurance modernization incentive funds to Rhode Island

WASHINGTON - U.S. Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis today announced during a press conference call the release of $7,820,193 in unemployment insurance modernization incentive funds to the state of Rhode Island. Rhode Island qualified for a portion of its share of the funds available under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act because its unemployment law contains provisions that allow workers to use recent earnings to qualify for benefits.

"Since 1992, Rhode Island has recognized the importance of updating its UI program to meet the needs of workers in the modern economy," said Secretary Solis. "Using recent wages when determining eligibility helps new entrants to the workforce to qualify for benefits they rightly deserve."

The Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training can use the funds to pay unemployment benefits or, if appropriated by the legislature, for administering its unemployment insurance program or delivering employment services.

"I am pleased the state has taken the common sense measures to access this funding," said U.S. Sen. Jack Reed. "This is a smart federal investment that will help Rhode Island families, save local businesses money and help alleviate some of the pressure on the state's unemployment trust fund."

"Rhode Island's unemployment insurance program has felt the strain of a recession that started earlier and grew more severe than in most places in the country," said U.S. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse. "The release of these federal funds to bolster Rhode Island's unemployment budget will provide critical relief to an overburdened system on which so many families rely to make ends meet."

"With Rhode Island and other states struggling, this federal funding will help address the difficult problems we face. More importantly, these funds will help thousands of families in Rhode Island pay their mortgages and keep food on their tables," said Rep. Patrick J. Kennedy, who represents Rhode Island's 1st District.

"This additional funding is coming at a critical time for our state," said Rep. Jim Langevin, who represents Rhode Island's 2nd District. "Providing additional unemployment funding helps continue a critical safety net for so many Rhode Islanders."

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 those funds by showing that its law includes those provisions. Rhode Island's approved application will be posted at the department's Employment and Training Administration website at http://www.doleta.gov/recovery/. Other approved applications can also be found on this site.