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Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Programs Available to Unemployed Workers through the American Job Center Network

Benjamin Collins
Analyst in Labor Policy

David H. Bradley
Specialist in Labor Economics

Katelin P. Isaacs
Analyst in Income Security

Many federally funded programs to assist unemployed workers are co-located and coordinated through state-run American Job Centers (AJCs; formerly One-Stop Career Centers). The specific set of benefits and services available to a worker through the AJC network varies by the worker’s characteristics and reason for unemployment.

Unemployment insurance (UI) is a federal-state system and mandatory AJC partner. UI benefits are available to workers who have involuntarily lost their jobs and have demonstrated a required level of labor force attachment. UI provides weekly cash payments to replace a portion of eligible workers’ earnings, up to a statewide maximum. Eligibility and benefit levels vary by state, though most states offer up to 26 weeks of state-financed UI benefits through each state’s Unemployment Compensation (UC) program. Certain economic conditions may extend the duration of UI benefits through the permanent Extended Benefit (EB) program or the temporary Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC08) program.

AJCs coordinate a number of reemployment programs that provide job search assistance and training subsidies. These programs include both broadly available programs and targeted programs. Unlike UI benefits, which are mandatory entitlements, these employment and training programs are subject to funding caps. The primary AJC partner programs can be characterized as follows:

Programs available to all jobseekers do not have eligibility requirements, though they may have limited capacity. These programs provide varied job search and educational services. They include adult activities supported under the Workforce Investment Act (WIA), which provide reemployment services and training vouchers; Employment Services (ES) under the Wagner-Peyser Act, which provide job search assistance and other non-training services to jobseekers; and adult education programs, which provide educational services at the secondary level and below.

Targeted programs provide specialized services to certain populations. These services may be targeted by the circumstances of a worker’s job loss or a worker’s personal characteristics. Services provided through these programs can be more intensive or more readily available than those through programs with no eligibility requirements.

In addition to these primary programs, there are also several additional employment and training programs that are required AJC partners but are limited in scope and availability. The specific services offered by these additional programs vary, but tend to be targeted toward certain populations of jobseekers.

This report is limited to mandatory AJC partner programs under the Workforce Investment Act of 1998 (P.L. 105-220). Some federally funded programs with employment and training components are not AJC partners. As such, the group of programs discussed in this report may vary from other reviews of federal workforce programs and should not be considered exhaustive.

Date of Report: November 4, 2013
Number of Pages: 19
Order Number: R43301
Price: $29.95

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