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Office of Governor Pete Ricketts

Getting Back to Work

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Growing Nebraska will not happen by accident – it takes careful planning. Connecting Nebraskans to good jobs is one way we can ensure that our state continues to grow, and it is something that I have directed members of my team to work on in their agencies across all of state government. For job creators, this is particularly important in light of our state’s lowest-in-the-nation unemployment rate of 2.6 percent. At the Department of Labor, growing job opportunities means looking for new ways to help unemployed Nebraskans expeditiously reenter the workforce by finding good jobs that fit their skills and experience.

This week, my administration announced the launch of Nebraska’s new reemployment system aimed at helping unemployment claimants reenter the workforce and making it easier to find a good job. Our state’s program developed by the Nebraska Department of Labor is the first of its kind of any state in the nation, and has won approval from the U.S. Department of Labor. The goal of the program is to utilize personal one-on-one assistance to connect the approximately 10,000 Nebraskans looking for work and applying for unemployment benefits with some of the over 50,000 jobs in the state’s job opening database.

Our state’s reemployment program is unique to other states for a couple reasons. First, nearly all jobseekers who receive unemployment benefits will be required to enroll in an individualized reemployment plan to remain eligible for benefits. Department of Labor staff will meet with each worker to develop their individualized reemployment plan shortly after an application is submitted for unemployment benefits. Second, the reemployment program leverages cutting edge software that requires jobseekers to create a resume searchable by potential employers who can make queries for skill inventory, find resumes with the right experience, and proactively reach out to potential applicants. Previously, the department successfully utilized a limited version of this program for jobseekers with a high probability of exhausting their benefits.

Nebraska’s new reemployment program has several components that will ensure that jobseekers in our state have the best resources on hand as they look for their next job. For example, not only will jobseekers work with agency staff to develop individual employment plans, but they will also help them to identify goals and objectives and determine the appropriate combination of services for the participant to meet their employment goals. These plans are designed to help engage the individuals and provide them with a clear understanding of where they are going.

Additionally, all participants will be required to create an account on the state’s employment website, NEworks. This account will allow individuals access to employment tools and resources, such as a resume builder, a messaging center to communicate with employers and workforce staff, free online learning resources, job search options including a virtual recruiter to identify personalized employment opportunities, and access to their individual employment plan.

Finally, this reemployment program will use assessments to provide data-driven opportunities to jobseekers. The assessments will cover career interests, skills confidence, and work values. The results will be reviewed with the jobseeker to ensure they represent an accurate picture of the individual and to identify areas of knowledge, skill, and ability that they can leverage as productive members of the workforce. The assessments will then be used in conjunction with labor market information and previous work experience to determine options and opportunities that exist in the current job market.

The formal launch of this program in October represents a paradigm shift for our unemployment system. By focusing on reemployment, we can help Nebraskans reenter the workforce more quickly and ensure that they are meeting their career goals, while connecting our state’s job creators with talent across our state. If you have any feedback or questions about the program or anything on your mind, please send me your thoughts at pete.ricketts@nebraska.gov or call my office at 402-471-2244.

 

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