Maine’s New Unemployment System Frustrates the Public and State Workers Alike
Problems with unemployment insurance IT systems and rollouts are common, as exemplified by the difficulties experienced by Pennsylvania, Florida, and California, to name a few. In an attempt to reduce the frequency and cost of failure, several states, with encouragement and funding from the U.S. Department of Labor [pdf], have formed consortiums aimed at creating a core UI system that can then be minimally tailored to meet each state’s unique requirements.
One of the more noteworthy systems is ReEmployUSA, which was formed by Mississippi, Maine, Rhode Island, and Connecticut. The consortium was the brainchild of the Mississippi Department of Employment Security (MDES), which in 2012 finalized the modernization [pdf] of its UI system called Access Mississippi (Access MS). Mississippi offered Access MS to other states as a way to share development and support costs.
Eleven states initially expressed interest [pdf] in Mississippi’s proposal, with Maine and Rhode Island committing to the idea first, followed by Connecticut. The U.S. Labor Department provided $90 million to the consortium to use Access MS as a baseline to be reengineered into a common, cloud-based system that would allow all four states to use it with only 20 to 25 percent tailoring needed.