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Gov. Sisolak: Nevada adds staff, vendor to manage unemployment calls

State is experiencing a period of historic unemployment
Posted at 6:18 PM, Apr 09, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-09 21:18:50-04

NEVADA (KTNV) — Governor Steve Sisolak joined the Nevada Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation (DETR) in announcing the selection of a vendor to provide at least 100 full-time operators to boost unemployment insurance (UI) call center capacity during a period of unprecedented demand.

The state is working with the vendor on an aggressive timeline for implementation, requiring the call center to be up and running by next week. This increase in call center capacity follows a near tripling of staff – from 75 to more than 200 – in support of the UI program.

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“We are excited to be able to provide this much-needed resource in support of the State’s UI program,” said Governor Sisolak. “While 96% of initial claims have been successfully filed online, our State is working overtime and leveraging every resource possible to help those filers who must utilize a phone to file or resolve an issue with their claim. I am optimistic that this new call center will further expedite much-needed relief to Nevadans who have struggled to connect via phone. I also want to thank the men and women at DETR who are working day and night to process claims as quickly as possible.”

Nevada is experiencing a period of historic unemployment.

Over 250,000 Nevadans have already filed for unemployment, with more than 300,000 expected by the end of the week – a 3,887% increase in unemployment claims since 2019. Nevada is now ranked No. 9 in the country in terms of states with the largest percentage increase in unemployment claims from January to April 2020, according to a recent study.

As part of DETR’s rapid expansion effort, they will utilize the vendor’s “Working from Home” platform that incorporates staff located in call centers as well as employees working remotely from home.

Initially, 100 full-time employees will work in the new call center with the option to add future staffing as needed.

The primary focus will be to alleviate call volumes at the UI claim centers with the flexibility to provide future support for the federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) provision for independent contractors, freelancers, gig workers and other workers not covered by standard Unemployment Insurance.

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This program was in part made possible through the assistance of Nevada’s federal delegation. The vendor, an international company, currently operates two call centers in the Silver State.

“Although DETR has recently tripled staff in support of the UI program, we acknowledge that some filers continue to face challenges with the UI phone system. We are very pleased to partner with the Governor’s Office in finding a resolution to the challenges proposed by the record number of calls received at our centers,” said DETR Director Dr. Tiffany Tyler-Garner.

The phone numbers to the call center will be announced as soon as they become available. The quickest way to file a claim is through the online portal.