Employment and Training Administration
Washington, D. C. 20210






October 17, 1997















United States Employment Service




Reemployment Services for Unemployment Insurance (UI) Claimants Through State Worker Profiling and Reemployment Services (WPRS) Systems

  1. Purpose. To transmit information and policy recommendations to State Employment Security Agencies (SESAs) that may assist them to improve the quality of reemployment services delivered by Wagner-Peyser service providers to profiled and referred UI claimants.

  2. References. 

    1. Wagner-Peyser Act, Sections 5 and 7, as amended.

    2. Public Law (PL) 103-152, HR Conference Report No. 404, 103rd Congress, 1st Session 5 (1993).

    3. The Worker Profiling and Reemployment Services System: Legislation, Implementation Process and Research Findings, UI Occasional Paper 94-4 (which includes FM No. 35-94), 1994.

    4. Social Policy Research Associates, "Evaluation of Worker Profiling and Reemployment Services Systems," Interim Report, UI Occasional Paper 96-1, November 1995.

    5. National WPRS Colloquium, June 1996: Selected Papers and Materials, August 1996.

    6. Annual Report, U.S. Employment Service, Program Year 1995, Program Report Data, 1996.

    7. Training Employment Guidance Letter (TEGL) No.4-95, Change 3, Subject': Instructions for Submission of State Plans under Title II and Title III of the Job Training Partnership Act for Program Years (PY) 1996 and 1997; and PY 1997 Wagner-Peyser Act Program Planning Guidelines, February 19, 1997.

  3. Background. The national WPRS initiative was based on an extensive body of research conducted by the States and the U.S. Department of Labor (hereinafter, the "Department"). That research concluded that worker profiling, coupled with the receipt of Job Search Assistance (JSA), is an effective and efficient way to speed referred claimants' return to productive employment.

    The relationship between the Wagner-Peyser labor exchange and UI programs is longstanding. State labor exchange programs provide assistance to UI claimants who are seeking reemployment services and new jobs. As States implement comprehensive workforce development systems based on the Department's four One-Stop principles -- universal access, customer choice, integrated services, and accountability -- Wagner-Peyser service providers should ensure that UI claimants and other job seekers and employers are satisfied with the public labor exchange services they receive. Further, Wagner-Peyser service providers should continuously strive to improve these services.

    The need to provide improved reemployment services to UI claimants was reinforced with the enactment of PL 103-152 which required that each State establish a WPRS system to:

    1. Identify which UI claimants are likely to exhaust regular UI benefits and need reemployment services to make a successful transition to new employment;

    2. Select and refer identified claimants to reemployment services;

    3. Provide referred claimants reemployment services, including JSA, based on their need for such services; and

    4. Establish a feedback system between service providers and UI components to provide information about services provided to referred claimants, their participation, and employment outcomes.

    This issuance addresses elements c. and d. above, and provides recommendationsthat Wagner-Peyser service providers should consider implementing to improve the quality of their reemployment services and feedback systems.

  4. Service Provision. Program Year 1997 Wagner-Peyser Act program planning guidance (TEGL No. 4-95, Change 3, Attachment F1, p.3) cites the need for State labor exchange programs to (1) improve their technological capacity to meet the work test and feedback requirements of the State UI system, and (2) enhance the scope and depth of labor exchange services to all UI claimants in need of such services and reemployment services to profiled and referred UI claimants.

    Referred UI claimants are best served by State WPRS systems when worker profiling occurs in conjunction with quality reemployment services. In this way, claimants who need some form of JSA to secure new employment are identified early in their spell of unemployment and are linked with reemployment services appropriate to their individual needs, thus facilitating employment. Reemployment services are described in the second conference report for P.L. 103-152 as: "Job search assistance and job placement services, such as counseling, testing; providing occupational and labor market information; and assessment, job search workshops, job clubs, referrals to employers, and other similar services."

    In recent years, favorable economic conditions and low total unemployment have played an important role in helping UI claimants obtain new jobs. These economic conditions, as well as workforce development system-building efforts in States and increased JSA services provided to referred UI claimants by Wagner-Peyser and Economic Dislocation and Worker Adjustment Assistance (EDWAA) service providers, have contributed to successful State WPBS systems that speed claimants' return to suitable work.

    During good economic times, it is especially prudent for States to consider ways to improve their WPRS service delivery systems. In particular, the quality, depth, and scope of reemployment services should be assessed to prepare for future economic shifts, potential worker displacements, and resultant workload changes.

    To assist States in improving their systems, ETA has in the past shared information with States to help strengthen their WPRS systems to meet the needs of unemployed workers during both good and bad economic periods. Through various directives, regional conferences, and the June 1996, National WPRS Colloquium, ETA has provided guidance and best practices information to States as they develop, implement, and work to continuously improve their WPRS systems. This issuance follows the ETA principle of providing guidance to States for effective delivery of quality reemployment services.

  5. Overall Policy Guidance.nbsp;ETA recommends that States pursue a coherent Wagner-Peyser/WPRS strategy for providing reemployment services that enhances collaboration among UI components and EDWAA and Wagner-Peyser service providers. This strategy should also ensure early intervention and receipt by referred claimants of appropriate reemployment services that:

    To achieve these objectives, State Wagner-Peyser service providers should decide (1) which practices work best, and (2) when they should be applied. The following recommendations, which States may wish to incorporate as part of their WPRS system, have been taken from various Departmental studies and reports. If adopted, these recommendations may help improve the quality of reemployment services and speed claimants' transition time from unemployment to reemployment.

    1. Provide JSA Early. ETA recommends that State WagnerPeyser service providers apply JSA early in a claimant's unemployment spell. Early intervention is one of the principal aims of the WPRS legislation. Those claimants who have the skills and experience required to fill suitable job openings should receive immediate job referrals; other claimants need to be quickly referred to other reemployment services necessary to become reemployed. Early intervention accelerates job finding and increases the likelihood of rapid reemployment.

      Departmental studies suggest that, in general, the objective of early intervention is being'met by the States. The vast majority of States require WPRS claimants to report for reemployment services within two weeks of receipt of their notification letter. At that point, referred claimants are generally informed about the menu of reemployment services available through the WPRS system, and about participation requirements. ETA recommends that States begin providing reemployment services as soon as:practical once a claimant's need for services has been identified.

    2. Individualize Services and Customize Service Plans. In order to supply each claimant with the blend of services that optimizes his or her likelihood of attaining rapid reemployment, ETA recommends that States provide referred claimants with customized service plans, as well as individualized services that use either person-to-person or group methods. Rather than a "one size fits all" approach, services should be tailored to claimants' individual reemployment needs. In this way, the value of the reemployment services provided to referred claimants can be maximized, and cost efficiency in service provision may be realized.

      While it may appear that the vast majority of the States are complying with ETA's recommendation to customize service plans and provide individualized services, Departmental studies reveal that some States have not achieved this objective. Although "individual" service plans are routinely developed in the majority of States, in many States virtually all claimants receive identical services. In these States, few claimants are asked to participate in any services beyond a mandatory "core" set of services, which often includes an orientation session and a group workshop providing JSA. While the referred claimants in these States likely benefit from the WPBS system, they may not be served to the fullest extent possible.

    3. Provide More and Better Services. Ultimately, the objective of reemployment services for referred claimants is to help them find suitable jobs as quickly as possible. To do this, the reemployment services offered should be extensive, and participation requirements ought to be tailored to the individual's needs.

      Studies indicate that an expansion of the variety, length, and number of services provided to claimants will likely increase customer satisfaction with the WPRS system. A customer satisfaction survey conducted for the Department indicates a strong relationship between customer satisfaction and the number of services received. Similarly, the survey indicates that the length of services is positively correlated with customer satisfaction. Therefore, States should consider expanding the number and length of services available to referred claimants, and tailoring reemployment services to fit their individual needs.

      In addition to States' current menu of reemployment services, which may include resume preparation, information on interviewing techniques, counseling, and aptitude and interest testing, States should consider adopting the following suggestions for expanding their workshops, orientation activities, and service opportunities:

      • Workshops that include employer representatives to provide "real world" job hunting techniques and information about jobs and occupations;

      • Job Clubs that encourage peer-to-peer job networking;

      • Reevaluation of claimants' service plans after participation in Job Search Workshops or Job Clubs;

      • Job loss counseling to help claimants adjust to the devastation of unemployment;

      • Financial counseling to provide advice on such topics as spending priorities and maintaining medical insurance while unemployed; Seminars or workshops that teach tools and techniques for utilizing computer-based JSA and other State job bank aids; and

      • Technology that uses continued-claim voice response units to link claimants to State job banks and America's Job Bank.

      In short, WPRS claimants are best served by reemployment services that are extensive and tailored to their individual needs. A reemployment system that lacks a variety of services may not be capable of fully meeting the needs of referred claimants. To be effective, the menu of reemployment services should cover a wide range of topics, and the specific services in which a particular claimant is required to participate should be only those most likely to facilitate his or her success in obtaining rapid and suitable employment.

    4. Increase Service Capacity.nbsp;ETA encourages States to seek ways to increase their flexibility to match local need for reemployment services to local capacity for providing these services. Departmental studies suggest that in numerous localities, many claimants who are identified as needing reemployment services cannot be referred to services due to a shortage of workforce development personnel. Recognizing that in some States, increasing the number of front-line staff may not be an option within their current budgets, ETA encourages States to consider other options for ensuring that referred claimants receive the reemployment services that they need in order to attain employment.

      An alternative may be to collaborate with other workforce development service providers who provide reemployment services, thereby leveraging resources from other programs. Doing this may increase the capacity of the workforce development system in general, as well as provide States with more service delivery options. In order to provide reemployment services to all claimants identified as likely to exhaust UI benefits, States may also need to consider shifting resources from local areas with low demands for reemployment services to local areas with high demands for reemployment services at a given point in time. By these or other methods, States should continue striving to attain the flexibility to match local need for services to local capacity, thereby continuously improving their WPRS system and the overall capacity of their workforce development system.

    5. Automate Service Plans.nbsp;While the previous four recommendations relate to the provision of reemployment services, this final recommendation is associated with the feedback process. In order to facilitate the tracking of referred claimants' service participation, ETA recommends that States automate service plans for referred claimants. According to Departmental studies, numerous States report using an automated tracking system in which each claimant's individual service plan is entered into a computer system so that the claimant's progress in services can be automatically tracked against the plan.

      The individual service plan, which is a claimant's path through reemployment services and a basis for determining satisfactory participation for continuing UI eligibility, is most efficient and effective when it is automated. State officials report that developing a system to track claimants' progress is one of the "most difficult" WPRS-related tasks. Therefore, ETA encourages State service providers to automate service plans, on the grounds that further automation of the entire tracking process should make monitoring of claimants' progress more efficient. The automation of service plans is likely to increase not only the speed and ease with which claimants' progress is tracked, but also the accuracy of the tracking process. Conceivably, funds could be saved through both the increased efficiency of the tracking system, as well as better monitoring of referred claimants' needs, progress, and compliance with WPRS requirements.

  6. Information. ETA will offer future guidance to States to assist them to continuously improve their workforce development systems. Future guidance will share additional information about reemployment services and offer further recommendations to improve job prospects for UI claimants and other job seekers. For more information on the topics addressed in this issuance, and for material highlighting best practices in State WPRS systems, the following Internet resources are available: (1) The Workforce ATM (http://www.icesa.org/national/docs/profile.htm); and (2) Information Technology Support center (http://www.itsc. state.md.us/ui manage/ui manage.html).

  7. Action. SESA administrators are (1) encouraged to consider the recommendations in this issuance, and (2) requested to share this information with Wagner-Peyser staff members responsible for developing and providing reemployment services to referred UI claimants.

  8. Inquiries.nbsp;Questions should be directed to the appropriate Regional office.