Dems push modular UI tech for state modernizations
- By Natalie Alms
- Mar 24, 2021
To help states modernize their unemployment insurance technology, congressional Democrats are asking newly confirmed Labor Secretary Marty Walsh to follow plans laid out in the Unemployment Insurance Technology Modernization Act.
That legislation, introduced by Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Rep. Steven Horsford (D-Nev.), would put the Labor Department in the drivers’ seat of a national effort to modernize unemployment tech. It calls for Labor to develop and maintain a set of modular functions necessary for administering an unemployment compensation program. The strategy would allow states to piece together modular components for their individual systems and help the federal government better administer unemployment programs, the lawmakers wrote in a March 23 letter.
Additionally, they wrote, any unemployment technology modernization work the Labor Department conducts with the $2 million in new American Rescue Plan funds targeted for fraud prevention, equitable access and timely payment should focus on developing secure, transparent and unbiased federal technology for unemployment administration.
"This past year has proven that individual states attempting to modernize their system in isolation hasn't yielded results. That failure has contributed to unconscionable delays for millions of workers," the group wrote. "A cohesive federal approach would not only ensure that every state has access to modern, efficient technology to meet their needs, but would also be far more cost effective than investing in 53 separate systems."
If the department were to follow the bill's plan, it would also create a digital services team to help states and agencies with their tech needs. The bill also emphasizes the centering of customer experience in the development process and the use of best practices in terms of cybersecurity and procurement.
This article was first posted to FCW, a sibling site to GCN.
Natalie Alms is a staff writer at FCW covering the federal workforce. She is a recent graduate of Wake Forest University and has written for the Salisbury (N.C.) Post. Connect with Natalie on Twitter at @AlmsNatalie.