Iowa Workforce Development will launch its new Reemployment Case Management (RCM) program next month, formally beginning a new chapter in how the agency will approach unemployment moving forward.
Beginning the week of January 9, the new program will offer extensive job search assistance to newly unemployed Iowans with the goal of getting them back to work more quickly. The RCM program has been specifically tailored to Iowa’s unemployment process based on proven national models. Its intention is to provide enhanced services so claimants can more quickly discover the best possible pathway toward a new job and minimize the amount of time spent receiving unemployment benefits.
“Like other states across the country, Iowa is experiencing a significant workforce shortage,” said Governor Kim Reynolds. “We are taking a holistic approach in revitalizing our reemployment process to ensure that Iowans have the access they need to match them with the successful career paths and opportunities that await them across our state.”
Governor Reynolds and IWD Director Beth Townsend announced the Reemployment Case Management (RCM) program in October as part of a series of steps to address Iowa’s urgent need for more workers in the economy. When fully implemented, the RCM program will include 18 new Career Planners who are assigned to meet individually with Iowans seeking reemployment beginning with the first week of their unemployment claims.
The Career Planners will work to directly connect unemployment claimants with training and educational opportunities in high-demand careers. They will be assisted by new technology that’s being added to Iowa’s existing IowaWORKS system, thereby making it easier to match an unemployment claimant’s work history with the skills in demand by Iowa companies with open jobs.
Union members will be excluded from participation in the program, per Iowa law. Most other unemployment claimants will be required to meet with Career Planners weekly (beginning with their first claimed week of unemployment) and attend any necessary training sessions as a condition for receiving their unemployment benefits. Intake into RCM originally will be focused on the newly unemployed. However, people who have been receiving unemployment benefits for 13 weeks or more will be earmarked for immediate participation in the program.
As part of the new program, the requirement that most jobless Iowans engage in two work search or reemployment activities per week to receive unemployment benefits will double to four activities per week. At the same time, IWD is narrowing the list of what qualifies as a “reemployment activity” from 27 items to 12. The change reflects a desire to focus unemployed Iowans’ efforts on those activities that are most likely to help them find new careers.
IWD encourages any unemployed Iowan to respond quickly if Career Planners reach out to gather information as part of the Reemployment Case Management program. Failure to respond to phone calls from Career Planners could delay the process of helping claimants find new work – and ultimately, could lead to unemployment claims being frozen until the proper information is provided.
Beth Townsend, Director of Iowa Workforce Development, emphasizes that this new approach will focus on getting unemployed Iowans back to work.
“Our goal with RCM is to give unemployed workers both extra help and extra incentive to find a new career path as quickly as possible,” Townsend said. “Iowa needs its people working, and we’ll do whatever we can to help get you there.”