CHEYENNE, WY – Wyoming has been approved for $2,283,000 in funding through an Unemployment Insurance (UI) Equity Grant by the U.S. Department of Labor. This innovative grant program is the first of its kind and focuses on ensuring all eligible workers have fair access to unemployment insurance. 

This Equity Grant will help claimants and create efficiencies for Department of Workforce Services (DWS) staff through:

  • Improved, mobile-friendly technology.
  • A visually appealing, intuitive, and user-friendly Wyoming Unemployment Insurance system.
  • Plain, easy-to-understand language.
  • Spanish translation.
  • Improved accessibility for those with disabilities.

“It’s important to us that we provide quality customer service to our UI claimants and employers in an equitable way,” says Holly McKamey Simoni, DWS Workforce Programs Administrator. “We want our systems to be easy to access and interact with, and to be better and more efficient for our staff as well.  We learned a lot throughout the pandemic in UI and we are looking forward to these upcoming changes.”

Through this grant, DWS will provide better access to UI benefits for those who may experience significant barriers to access and those who have been historically underserved, marginalized, and adversely affected by persistent poverty and inequality. The grant funding will also support activities that promote equitable access to UI programs, including:

  • Eliminating administrative barriers to benefit application. 
  • Reducing state workload backlogs.
  • Improving the timeliness of UI payments to eligible individuals.

“The UI program is a vital safety net for unemployed workers, and ensuring access to the program is a long-standing priority of the U.S. Department of Labor, as well as the Wyoming DWS,” says Robin Sessions Cooley, Director of the Department of Workforce Services. “I’m proud that our program is joining the nation’s efforts to improve the UI program by promoting equitable access and ensuring timely payment of benefits to its eligible workers.”