Unemployment Insurance: Easier Through the Cloud

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Cloud Based Technology, 1st in the Country for Unemployment Insurance

September 12, 2017

Jackson, MS -- “ReEmployUSA, a consortium of Mississippi, Rhode Island, Maine, and Connecticut deployed the country’s first multi-tenant unemployment insurance system on the cloud, Thursday, August 30, 2017,” announced Mark Henry, Executive Director of the Mississippi Department of Employment Security. Henry continued by noting, “Mississippi has been operating the multi-tenant capable, fully integrated, reengineered unemployment benefits, and a single state tax system on premises at the Mississippi Department of Employment Security for fifteen months. Mississippi will also release a multi-tenant tax system on September, 19th of this year.”

“Trailblazing” and “landmark achievement” are words Lou Ansaldi, the nation’s leading expert on unemployment insurance technology, has used to describe this achievement. Ansaldi, who is the Technology Director at the Information Technology Support Center, a division of NASWA, continued by pointing out that, “the goal is to create strong, customer facing, cost-effective, sustainable, shared systems within the UI domain, while reducing costs of operations.”

ReEmployUSA, formerly called MRM, was conceived to create a single development that could accommodate multiple states, in a common cloud environment, with the expectation of achieving high levels of commonality at significantly reduced costs. Dale Smith, Chief Operating Officer of the Mississippi Department of Employment Security (MDES) and organizer of the ReEmployUSA Consortium stated, “We are one step closer to creating the future for delivery of unemployment solutions in a cost effective manner, while being conscientious stewards of our state workforce funds. This modern unemployment system, with its state of the art design and tools, connects with ease to Mississippi’s equally capable workforce technology, MSWORKS, allowing our customers access to both unemployment and job matching services through single sign-on.”

Maine will be the second state to deploy in the ReEmployUSA multi-tenant, cloud hosted development. Later this fall, another release of the ReEmployUSA development will deploy the Maine unemployment benefits system. This will be another first for the unemployment insurance domain. With deployment of Maine’s unemployment benefits system, this will be the first time two states will have the capability to use a common production environment to operate their own unemployment benefits program, while accommodating unique state laws. Other releases will include tax for Maine, and benefits and tax for both Rhode Island and Connecticut.

Jim Smith, CIO for the State of Maine said of this work, "This is a very important milestone and a critical project, which has been made possible as the result of the strong partnership among multiple states. Working together, we are proving that it is possible to create software that can efficiently deliver services across multiple states. I believe this will be the pathway for the future, as states search for ways to build cost-effective solutions. Congratulations to Mississippi for its vision and leadership, and to Rhode Island, Connecticut, and Maine for their partnership”.

This development is based upon Mississippi’s very successful web-based ACCESS MS development. Mississippi began work on that development in 2004 and completed the project in early 2013, having reengineered its unemployment benefits and tax systems. The legacy benefits and tax system was operated on aging main frame technology. After achieving success in deploying a full benefits system in 2010, and with development well underway to complete the reengineered tax system; Mississippi invited states to discuss a partnership for expanding ACCESS MS to a multi-tenant, cloud hosted development. Following extensive discussion, a new consortium emerged with Mississippi, Rhode Island, and Maine and was called MRM, now called ReEmployUSA. Recently, Connecticut petitioned to become a member of the consortium and is now, the fourth state to develop in this consortium.

Mississippi funded the ACCESS MS development through state funds, UI administrative funds, and some supplemental budget funds made available to all states by the US Department of Labor. No funding was granted to Mississippi specifically for the purpose of reengineering its UI technology into the resulting ACCESS MS. When Mississippi, Rhode Island, and Maine decided to come together as the MRM Consortium, USDOL was petitioned for a grant to build the common system. USDOL granted $90 million to the states for the development.

For details or questions on this information, please contact Dianne Bell (601) 321-6510 or by email at: dbell@mdes.ms.gov.