Iowans seeking unemployment benefits now can expect to receive faster and increased assistance in finding a new career, but they’ll also need to meet higher work search requirements and report their work search efforts in a new way.

The changes are part Iowa Workforce Development’s new Reemployment Case Management (RCM) program, which went into effect on January 9 as part of a drive to focus more urgency on getting unemployed Iowans back to work as quickly as possible.

The RCM program is using 19 new IowaWORKS Career Planners to meet weekly with the newly employed and to make direct connections for them with any needed training and educational opportunities.  The Career Planners will work to directly connect unemployment claimants with training and educational opportunities in high-demand careers. They will be assisted by new technology that’s being added to Iowa’s existing IowaWORKS system, thereby making it easier to match an unemployment claimant’s work history with the skills in demand at Iowa companies with open jobs.

“Our goal with RCM is to give unemployed workers both extra help and extra incentive to find a new career path as quickly as possible,” Beth Townsend, Director of Iowa Workforce Development said last month while announcing the RCM start date. “Iowa needs its people working, and we’ll do whatever we can to help get you there.”

Along with the increased assistance, most unemployment benefits claimants now must take part in four “reemployment activities” per week (instead of two per week) to maintain their claims. At least three of these must involve applications for jobs.

Work search activities should be reported via the IowaWORKS computer system in advance of filing claims each week. For the first few weeks following January 9, failure to fulfill the minimum requirements initially will lead to a warning letter pointing out the mistake. Eventually, unemployment claimants who fail to follow work search requirements or to share information with Career Planners, could find their unemployment claims frozen.

For more information on how RCM works, visit the Frequently Asked Questions page on our website.