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US Department of Labor awards $18.2M to promote equitable access to unemployment insurance systems in Kansas, Illinois, Ohio

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Labor today announced the award of $18,242,000, in equity grants to state employment insurance systems in Kansas, Illinois and Ohio to enhance awareness and improve delivery of unemployment insurance benefits to help people overcome obstacles to access.

Administered by the department’s Employment and Training Administration, the ninth round of equity grants will allow states to implement projects that seek to ensure age, race, ethnicity, language proficiency, disability status, geographic location or other systemic barriers do not prevent those in need from accessing unemployment insurance benefits.

Funded by the American Rescue Plan Act, the funding supports projects designed to expand outreach, promote awareness, improve technology, streamline instructions, provide translation services, increase staffing and address other accessibility issues in marginalized communities. The department awarded $6,840,000 each to Illinois and Ohio, and $4,562,000 to Kansas.

In August 2021, the department issued guidance to inform states about the availability of $260 million in grant funding to promote equitable access to unemployment insurance benefits. To date, the department has announced the award of more than $150 million to 28 states and the District of Columbia