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October 1, 2009

Grants Bring $5.9M to Serve Workers, Businesses
Federal Money Recognizes Past, Future Customer Efforts

CHICAGO - Recognizing its continued efforts to deliver services quickly and efficiently, the federal government awarded the Illinois Department of Employment Security more than $5.9 million in technology grants that will be used to assist the business and labor communities.

The competitive grants will fund telecommunication projects that will make it easier for customers to interact with the department as well as upgrade computer hardware and software that will provide easier and more efficient communication with businesses.

“The Department has worked very hard to use technology to deliver services more efficiently and it is rewarding to see those efforts recognized,” IDES Director Maureen O’Donnell said. “This money will go directly to projects that will improve customer service for claimants and employers as everyone works together to emerge from this national recession.”

The IDES continues to emphasize that all of its services are available at www.ides.state.il.us, including certifying for unemployment insurance benefits, choosing to receive those benefits through direct deposit, and filing for unemployment insurance. Using the website allows customers to seek services at their convenience without visiting an office.  Website transactions are completely secure and available 24/7.

The grants from the U.S. Department of Labor reward efforts to use technology to better deliver services. IDES projects include: $3.12 million to improve telecommunication infrastructure throughout the state which will improve customer service; $2.69 million to streamline tax and accounting procedures which will increase efficiency and accuracy of data; $80,000 in central office technology upgrades that will improve claimant communication and benefit payments; and $7,000 to help prevent business contribution fraud. Grant money will be spent as needed through the end of 2011.

O’Donnell encouraged customers to be optimistic and realistic as workers seek meaningful employment and businesses work to become more efficient. Although the national recession has created unprecedented service demands, IDES is available to help workers assess their skills and has information that can help businesses better understand their future markets.

The Illinois Department of Employment Security administers federally funded employment services and unemployment insurance through its nearly 60 offices, including the Illinois workNet Centers. IDES also receives federal grants to provide and analyze labor market statistics and information.


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