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Inset: Scott Jensen, CEO of Research Improving People’s Lives
Dismantling data silos to reduce unemployment
A nonprofit organization is helping states bring together previously separate administrative data to better understand and resolve unemployment issues
Anonprofit organization has devel- oped two solutions that enable state governments to make the most of their data to reduce unemployment and help people adjust to career shifts.
One solution is affectionately known as “the pizza tracker” because it allows unemployment insurance (UI) applicants to track the status of their claims online the way customers can track their Domi- no’s pizza orders, said Scott Jensen, CEO of Research Improving People’s Lives.
RIPL bills itself as a tech-for-social- impact nonprofit and got its start as a policy lab at Brown University. The Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training, where Jensen served as director until February, was the first organization to use the tracker. DLT partnered with RIPL during the pan- demic to launch UI Online, an unem- ployment assistance application in the Amazon Web Services cloud.
DLT and RIPL took a UI database that had been stored on a mainframe and replicated it in the cloud using Qlik Replicate, which enables organizations to securely move data from on-premis- es systems to the cloud with minimal operational impact.
“The source of truth is the mainframe terrestrial system, but the cloud-based system is kept synched with the on-prem system,” Jensen said. “Then we can work on the cloud to add functionality.” To respond to the influx of UI applications last year, “we would take certification to the cloud, we would connect a cloud- based call center — all these different small but strategically important inter- ventions to get that thing onto the cloud.”
Opening DOORS to new
career opportunities
Even while they were processing UI claims, officials started to think about
how to get people back to work once the health and economic crises eased, and the Data for Opportunity in Occu- pation Reskilling Solution was born. DOORS uses artificial intelligence, machine learning and secure cloud computing to bring together previ- ously siloed administrative data, such as records related to wages, UI claims and job training. DOORS analyzes the data and makes suggestions about career paths and training or reskilling opportunities for individual workers.
To join, state residents sign onto the app, where they answer a series of ques- tions about past jobs, education and skill sets, and then upload their résumés.
Users can see what types of jobs peo- ple with similar skills hold and receive links to job openings and training oppor- tunities. Alternatively, participating states can opt to have DOORS email users a list of results, Jensen added.
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