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RESEA Program Strategies: State and Local Implementation

Andrew Clarkwest, Phomdaen Souvanna, Jacob Klerman, Abt Associates; John Trutko, Alex Trutko, Capital Research Corporation; Amanda Briggs, Shayne Spaulding, Ian Hecker, Ayesha Islam, Batia Katz, Molly Scott, Demetra Nightingale, Urban Institute

Report

June 13, 2022

The Department of Labor (DOL) funded Abt Associates and its partners to conduct the RESEA Evidence Building and Implementation Study to support DOL and state efforts to meet the evidence requirements for the Reemployment Services and Eligibility Assessment (RESEA) program and build evidence on effective strategies. This report presents the results of the project’s implementation study, a multi-method effort to provide an up-to-date understanding of states’ current RESEA programs, their evaluation plans, and recent programmatic changes in response to new statutory requirements for RESEA.

DOL provides funding to states to operate RESEA programs that aim to help unemployment insurance (UI) claimants return to work more quickly and ensure that claimants are meeting eligibility requirements, thus reducing improper payments. The implementation study examines the reach and focus of states’ RESEA programs. The study reviews strategies states use to select RESEA claimants, and promote attendance at RESEA meetings. It also looks at how states provide customized reemployment services, strengthen program integrity, integrate and align with workforce partners, and build evidence on effective program service delivery and practices. In addition, it examines program changes in the wake of the COVID-pandemic. 

Key findings include:

  • RESEA programs vary substantially across the country in several aspects: use of subsequent meetings, staffing approaches, attendance promotion strategies, and consequences for failure to attend
  • Staff reported few program changes from 2018 to COVID onset but indicated interest in more changes, including strategies to enhance reemployment services and changes to criteria to select UI claimants for RESEA
  • UI eligibility issues identified during meetings are often not adjudicated
  • After the onset of COVID-19, service delivery changed dramatically. In particular, programs rapidly shifted to remote services
  • Most states are making progress toward launching evaluations, and interest exists in testing various components and strategies.