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News Release

ETA News Release: [08/19/2010]
Contact Name: Mike Trupo or Lina Garcia
Phone Number: (202) 693-3414 or x4661
Release Number: 10-1155-NAT

US Labor Department announces release of more than $667,000 in unemployment insurance modernization incentive funds to US Virgin Islands

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Department of Labor today certified for release $667,637 in unemployment insurance modernization incentive funds to the U.S. Virgin Islands. The Virgin Islands qualified for a portion of the territory's share of the funds available under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act by updating its unemployment law to allow workers to use recent earnings to qualify for benefits.

"I applaud the U.S. Virgin Islands for updating its unemployment insurance laws to better meet the needs of workers across Saint Croix, Saint John, Saint Thomas, Water Island and other areas," said Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis. "Many Virgin Islanders, who did not normally qualify for unemployment benefits, now will be eligible to receive this vital income support as they seek out new jobs."

The U.S. Virgin Islands Department of Labor can use the funds to pay unemployment benefits or, if appropriated by the legislature, to administer its unemployment insurance program or deliver employment services.

"We are extremely pleased by today's U.S. Labor Department announcement," said Gov. John P. de Jongh Jr. "My administration prioritized updating the UI program for the U.S. Virgin Islands, and we are confident the new law will be of great benefit to our workforce. I thank the secretary of labor for the release of unemployment insurance modernization incentive funds. This certainly is a major boost to our workforce."

"I would like to commend Virgin Islands Labor Commissioner Albert Bryan and his staff for their work and the Virgin Islands legislature for bringing us into compliance, which has made this funding available. Our unemployed residents will benefit greatly from this stimulus funding," said Virgin Islands delegate to congress Donna M. Christensen.

The Recovery Act made a total of $7 billion available in UI modernization incentive payments to states that include certain eligibility provisions in their UI programs. The U.S. Virgin Islands' approved application will be posted at the U.S. Department of Labor's Employment and Training Administration website at http://www.doleta.gov/recovery/. Other approved applications can also be found on this site.