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Overview

Overview


During the 2021 Legislative Session, Governor DeSantis and the Florida Legislature directed, and provided funding for, the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) to undertake a sustainable, continuous modernization effort of the Reemployment Assistance Claims and Benefits Information System to implement immediate system performance and functional improvement needs while positioning DEO with an integrated modular cloud-based system that is secure, scalable, and sustainable.

The Reemployment Assistance Modernization Program includes approximately 20 projects which are grouped into the following categories: infrastructure, software, data and analytics, and security. These initiatives address the immediate need to improve performance and usability of the Reemployment Assistance Claims and Benefits Information System while also establishing the architectural framework and processes necessary to implement future business process and technology changes efficiently and effectively.

These initiatives will take place over two years and set a solid foundation for ongoing modernization efforts to further improve the delivery of Reemployment Assistance services to Floridians and coordination with workforce partners to empower Floridians through career development activities.

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Roadmap

Roadmap


DEO was provided a suggested Reemployment Assistance Modernization Program Roadmap with the ISF Final Report for Improved Delivery of Reemployment Assistance Benefits in February 2021 to further outline the process to modernize the state’s Reemployment Assistance Claims and Benefits Information System.

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DEO has refreshed the Reemployment Assistance Modernization Program Roadmap as of November 2021.


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Updates

Updates


December 2021:

  • Advertised a Request for Quote (RFQ) for Business Process Optimization services by using MyFloridaMarketplace (MFMP) Sourcing. Registered contractors that are included on Florida’s State Term Contract list for Management Consulting Services, Number 80101500-20-1, will automatically receive a quote notification by email  directly from MyFloridaMarketplace with details about the solicitation. MyFloridaMarketPlace automatically notifies contractors of procurements by email based on the commodity codes they selected upon registration in MyFloridaMarketPlace as well as the association of each contractor with the referenced State Term Contract.

November 2021:

  • Submitted three additional federally mandated reports, including the Employment and Training Administration (ETA) 218 Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation and ETA 207 Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation reports, to the U.S. Department of Labor from the Data Warehouse. Additionally, the ETA 902 Regular report is ready to be submitted from the Data Warehouse should a natural disaster occur. The remaining 41 federally mandated reports are prioritized and queued for development and data validation.

October 2021: 

  • Engaged the Executive Office of the Governor’s Reimagining Education and Career Help (REACH) Office to seek input and ensure the alignment of Reemployment Assistance Modernization efforts were encompassed and consistent with that of the state’s workforce system integration.
  • Secured a Strategic Planning Office to serve as a single point of contact to ensure the Reemployment Assistance Modernization Program remains within budget, the schedule remains timely and steady, the scope is fully developed in order to meet the needs of Floridians and DEO, and the status of reporting is systematic, precise, and accurately reflects each project’s progress.
  • Submitted three additional federally mandated reports, including the Employment and Training Administration (ETA) 5159 Regular, ETA 5130 Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation, and ETA 902 Pandemic Unemployment Assistance reports, to the U.S. Department of Labor from the Data Warehouse. Additionally, the weekly Disaster Automated Reporting and Information System report is ready to be submitted from the Data Warehouse should a natural disaster occur. The remaining 44 federally mandated reports are prioritized and queued for development and data validation.
  • Submitted the October 2021 Monthly Status Report for the Reemployment Assistance Modernization Program to the Executive Office of the Governor’s Office of Policy and Budget as well as to the House and Senate Appropriations Committees.
  • The Reemployment Assistance Help Center was enhanced to allow claimant accounts to be locked or unlocked, as appropriate, in real-time rather than taking the system offline to process requests. This better protects and serves claimants.
  • Developed the technical environment in the Reemployment Assistance Help Center to allow claimants to securely upload documentation, such as proof of wages, so claimants could request a monetary redetermination on their claim and receive benefits.
  • Integrated workflows in the Reemployment Assistance Help Center and distributed claimant issues to trained staff to allow for more efficient and timely resolution of Reemployment Assistance claims.
  • Developed a section of the Reemployment Assistance Help Center for overpayment information, including guidance and options for claimants, such as filing an appeal, submitting a waiver, and repayment.
  • Procured a cloud-based solution for the Reemployment Assistance Customer Service Center. A cloud-based Customer Service Center, once launched, will ensure the Reemployment Assistance program is accessible to all callers, even during periods of high demand.

September 2021: 

  • Submitted the first of 49 federally mandated reports, the Employment and Training Administration 5159 Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation report, to the U.S. Department of Labor from the Data Warehouse.
  • The Reemployment Assistance Help Center was enhanced to provide timely updates and correspondence to users who submit a request for help to increase transparency, and to establish an identity verification process for claimants who are less than 18 years of age.
  • Expanded Reemployment Assistance Help Center functionality to allow DEO and Local Workforce Development Boards to better serve claimants.
  • Deployed automated processes in the Reemployment Assistance Help Center to streamline self-service options for users whose identity has been authenticated.
  • Submitted the September 2021 Monthly Status Report for the Reemployment Assistance Modernization Program to the Executive Office of the Governor’s Office of Policy and Budget as well as to the House and Senate Appropriations Committees.
  • The Identity Management and Access Control project was initiated ahead of schedule to provide increased security and multi-factor authentication for existing claimants, employers, and third-party administrators before accessing the Reemployment Assistance system. Since the implementation of this common best-practice tool, DEO has seen a significant decrease in fraudulent activity.

August 2021: 

  • Hired a Director for the DEO’s Office of Economic Accountability and Transparency to provide leadership for critical objectives, priority issues, and to promote key DEO initiatives and strategic planning efforts, including but not limited to Reemployment Assistance Modernization.
  • Conducted a kick-off meeting with the Florida Digital Service, the Florida Department of Revenue, and the Florida Department of Financial Services to seek input on recommended Reemployment Assistance enhancements.
  • The Identity Management and Access Control project was initiated ahead of schedule to provide increased front-end security and multi-factor authentication for new claimants. Since the implementation of this common best-practice tool, DEO has seen a significant decrease in fraudulent activity.

July 2021: 

  • FY 2021-2022 began, providing the necessary appropriated funding to officially begin modernization efforts.
  • DEO procured Independent Validation and Verification services to provide independent programmatic oversight and quality assurance services, as well as to ensure the overall value of the state’s Reemployment Modernization efforts are achieved and that Floridians are provided a product that meets their needs with an enhanced user experience.
  • The Department completed the Data Warehouse project ahead of schedule to improve DEO’s access to data and statistics as well as boost the system’s overall performance. The Data Warehouse serves as a central repository for all Reemployment Assistance federal reporting data, which allows the agency to reduce the size of the current Reemployment Assistance database.

June 2021: 

  • DEO issued a Request for Information on System and Software Integration services to help support future procurements targeting Business Process Optimization and Integration to enhance the customer experience.

May 2021: 

  • Governor Ron DeSantis signed and enacted HB 1463 on May 7, 2021, which established the Office of Economic Accountability and Transparency and created a path for implementing, and reporting on the progress of, an integrated, modular system hosted in a cloud service for the Reemployment Assistance program.
  • DEO launched the Reporting project ahead of schedule. The Reporting project includes re-writing all federally mandated Reemployment Assistance reports using the new Data Warehouse as a source of reporting data. The U.S. Department of Labor requires the state to submit weekly, monthly, and quarterly reports of unemployment programs administered by the state to measure workload and programmatic activity, and to ensure the State of Florida is issuing funds timely, efficiently, and accurately.

April 2021: 

  • The Florida Legislature unanimously passed HB 1463, which established the Office of Economic Accountability and Transparency and created a path for implementing, and reporting on the progress of, an integrated, modular system hosted in a cloud service for the Reemployment Assistance program.

March 2021: 

  • The Reemployment Assistance Help Center was developed and launched for claimants and employers to both provide and receive additional information from DEO.

February 2021: 

  • The ISF Final Report for Improved Delivery of Reemployment Assistance Benefits was published. This report provides the suggested roadmap for the Reemployment Assistance Modernization Program.

FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Reemployment Assistance Modernization Program?

Governor Ron DeSantis signed and enacted HB 1463 on May 7, 2021, which established the Office of Economic Accountability and Transparency and created a path for implementing, and reporting on the progress of, an integrated, modular system hosted in a cloud service for the Reemployment Assistance program.

The Reemployment Assistance Modernization Program is a multi-year effort that focuses on addressing the immediate need to improve performance and accessibility of the Reemployment Assistance Claims and Benefits Information System while also establishing the architectural framework and processes necessary to implement continuous modernization efforts efficiently and effectively.

What are the goals of the Reemployment Assistance Modernization Program?

The primary goals for the Reemployment Assistance Modernization Program are to:
  • Provide a system that is efficient, scalable, and meets the needs of providing Reemployment Assistance benefits to protect workers employed in Florida who lose their job through no fault of their own;
  • Enhance services provided to Floridians to access better career and workforce training opportunities and achieve economic self-sufficiency;
  • Achieve Reemployment Assistance national prominence, as measured through the federal core measures, program integrity measures, and standards required by the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Labor;
  • Improve access and equity in the delivery of Reemployment Assistance benefits;
  • Sharpen the Reemployment Assistance program’s focus on outcomes and accountability;
  • Provide a system capable of responding rapidly to changes in law and economic conditions;
  • Reduce cyber security risk and potential for fraud;
  • Improve information flow with claimants, employers, and Third-Party Administrators (TPA) to provide quicker resolutions;
  • Improve the Reemployment Assistance program quality, accountability, performance, and integrity;
  • Leverage new technologies to improve claimants, employers, and TPAs’ overall experience with the Reemployment Assistance Program, including reducing the amount of time it takes to file a claim for benefits;
  • Improve efficiencies and effectiveness in managing claim workload and being better equipped to handle unexpected spikes in the number of claims that may result from emergencies, disasters, or economic factors;
  • Eliminate manual, error-prone, labor-intensive processes;
  • Enhance system usability, including accessibility;
  • Reduce maintenance and support time and costs;
  • Incorporate technical standards sufficient to develop from and modern technologies;
  • Seamlessly integrate with other internal/external information technology assets; and
  • Modernize real-time and batch interfaces and all other systems exchanging data with the Reemployment Assistance program.

What funding has DEO received for the Reemployment Assistance Modernization Program?

Governor Ron DeSantis signed and enacted HB 1463 on May 7, 2021, which established the Office of Economic Accountability and Transparency and created a path for implementing, and reporting on the progress of, an integrated, modular system hosted in a cloud service for the Reemployment Assistance program. As a result, DEO was appropriated approximately $93.1 million in General Revenue Funds for the FY 2021-2023 modernization and continued maintenance of the Reemployment Assistance Claims and Benefits Information System that complies with section 282.206, Florida Statutes.  Of these funds, approximately $19.3 million has been allocated for increased maintenance and operations of the system, $72.6 million was provided for system modernization, and approximately $1.17 million was allocated to competitively procure a provider with experience in conducting Independent Verification and Validation (IV&V) services of information technology to provide comprehensive review, analysis, and testing to confirm that each projects’ requirements are correctly defined, and to confirm that each project is correctly implemented and functioning as part of the larger system.

How will DEO’s efforts be monitored and assessed?

In accordance with section 287.056, Florida Statutes, and 60GG-2 Florida Administrative Code, Independent Verification and Validation (IV&V) is required for all state of Florida projects that have total project costs of $10 million or more.  DEO has procured the contractual services of Gartner, Inc., to provide independent, third-party IV&V services.  DEO has also established the Office of Economic Accountability and Transparency to monitor modernization development and has procured a Strategic Planning Office as part of the Modernization efforts to provide project management and progress reporting.  In addition, DEO regularly engages partners for feedback.

What phases are involved in the Reemployment Assistance Modernization Program?

The Reemployment Assistance Modernization Program includes approximately 20 projects which are grouped into the following categories: infrastructure, software, data and analytics, and security.  The following details summarize each anticipated project.

Infrastructure

  • Cloud Migration: Complete planning for remaining migration, readiness activities, and migration of Reemployment Assistance Benefits Information System’s infrastructure from the State Data Center and Disaster Recovery sites to a Cloud Service Provider using an Internet as a Service hosting model. Included within the migration project is the selection and implementation of a new document storage solution and document generation solution.
  • Cloud Application Performance Management: Provide application performance management, including functionality like root cause analysis, custom dashboards showing key performance indicators to communicate performance at-a-glance, and system monitoring with clearly defined thresholds when remedial action must occur and then defining those actions.

Software

  • Cloud Contact Center as a Service: Replace or migrate the current Reemployment Assistance Customer Service Center solution with a cloud-based contact center solution. The new system should be able to replace the current phone system (Cisco) and Interactive Voice Response system. This project was previously included in the Cloud Migration project identified in the Final Report.
  • System Development Life Cycle – Development Operations: Ensure the completeness and correctness of the application design documentation, related artifacts, and dataflow diagrams for the Reemployment Assistance Benefits Information System and ensure that a process is in place that aligns the Reemployment Assistance Benefits Information System functionality with management’s business requirements, including secure development best practices (DevSecOps, SDLC).
  • .NET and ORM Upgrade: Establish a solid architectural basis in support of continuous system modernization by upgrading the Reemployment Assistance Benefits Information System application to the latest version of the .NET Framework and defining a new architecture based on .NET Core and upgrade the Object Relational Mapping software to the most current version.
  • Systems-Oriented Architecture and Application Programming Interface Layer: Establish a solid architectural basis in support of the continuous modernization by defining a new architecture based on .NET Core, Web API framework, and a service-oriented architecture for the modernized Reemployment Assistance Benefits Information System application.
  • Rules Engine: Establish business rules into a user-visible and user-maintainable business rules engine. This will allow both maintaining business rules and developing new business rules without requiring code changes and subsequent deployments.
  • Business Process Optimization: Identify, assess, analyze, and redesign Reemployment Assistance business processes, and develop business and technical functional and non-functional requirements into a customer-centric business framework that leverages improvements and supporting technologies to deliver world-class customer service.
  • Incremental Customer Experience (CX)/User Experience (UX) Mobile-Responsive Software Transformation: Establish an agile and incremental solution to ensure that business process optimization is incorporated into the customer and user experience transformation activities for each of the functional modules within the scope of the CX/UX project.
  • Systems and Software Integration Procurement: Procure the contractual services of a third-party System and Software Integration services provider with experience in strategic planning, design, development, and integration for large multi-component system modernization efforts.
  • Strategic Planning Office: Enables DEO to maintain focus and direction across all projects within the program. Serves as a single point of contact for budget, scope, and status reporting.
  • Independent Verification and Validation Procurement: Procure the contractual services of a third-party consulting firm with experience in conducting Independent Verification and Validation assessments to provide these services for the Reemployment Assistance modernization and mobile-responsive transformation project.
  • Reemployment Assistance Help Center: Includes the development of a front-end website that is a one-stop site for citizens/claimants to find answers to commonly asked questions and to enable easy navigation through all Reemployment Assistance processes and related documentation. Phase one of this project is limited to informational and navigational web page content development. Phase two of this project includes citizen master data management and data analytics to ensure that citizens have a complete view of all their current and historical information.

Data and Analytics

  • Data Warehouse: Establish a cloud-hosted data warehouse designed for reporting purposes. The warehouse will establish a single source of truth for customers, be independent of batch cycles, and maintain historical transactions.
  • Reporting Project: Rewrite all system reports and write any additional reports, as requested, using the existing data warehouse as a source of reporting data.
  • Archival and Purge Project: Establish a process and execute archival and purge of data in both the production database and file store.

Security

  • Master Data Management and Interoperability Project: Create a data catalog and data dictionary to enable standardization of data elements and interoperability across business units and other Departments per Florida Digital Services (FLDS) and section 282.206, F.S., requirements.
  • Security Architecture Review Services Project: Application security architecture services will ensure the application, underlying platform, and associated operations and development processes meet modern application security standards. Incorporating appropriate security controls from early in the application and system development lifecycle ensures security is inherent to the application and avoids incurring significant risk to users and prevents major costs from rework needed to meet security and compliance needs later.
  • Identity Management and Access Control Project: Acquire and integrate an identity and access management control service for utilization by all users of the system. This project includes the updating of identity management policies and procedures as well as any necessary migration of existing user accounts and roles to the new service.
  • Security Architecture Audit Services Project: Perform a technical audit consisting of a system, platform, application, and network hardening review, including a penetration testing engagement with scope involving, at a minimum, all application user and administrative interfaces, a sampling of all application environments and tiers, critical application infrastructure, access management platform, and staff resources.

How will DEO ensure the sharing of data with partner agencies?

  • To enable timely implementation of business-driven, user-experience focused services, DEO will develop an application programming interface (API) framework to deliver web pages and responses to both end users and API consumers.

What is the Reemployment Assistance Modernization Program timeline?

  • The Reemployment Assistance Modernization Program includes an initial two-year modernization effort with continuous modernization activities initiating once projects are complete. For details regarding the Reemployment Assistance Modernization Program timeline, please see this Roadmap.

How will DEO advertise its procurement solicitations?

  • DEO has chosen to procure products and services by using MyFloridaMarketPlace Sourcing by advertising eQuotes in accordance with F.S. 287.056.  Interested contractors must be registered in MyFloridaMarketPlace in order to conduct business with the State of Florida.

    DEO may solicit quotes for the Reemployment Assistance Modernization Program from contractors included on State Term Contract and/or Alternate Contract Source lists. Contractors are notified of these procurements by email based on the commodity codes they selected upon registration in MFMP as well as the commodity codes they have selected specific to each contract. 

Can anyone receive notification each time DEO solicits quotes for the Reemployment Assistance Modernization Program?

  • Quote notifications are emailed to specific registered contractors that are listed on each respective State Term Contract or Alternate Contract Source and are not available for the public to view. Non-registered contractors can view solicitations only if they are a listed contractor or if a recipient of the solicitation forwards the notification. In accordance with chapter 287, Florida Statutes, the details of the solicitation (including scope of work, questions and answers, etc.) will not be available to the public until after the contract is awarded.

How can I get updates on vendor opportunities?

  • DEO will provide updates on the Reemployment Assistance Modernization updates page each time a solicitation for products and/or services has been advertised.

    MyFloridaMarketPlace
    automatically notifies contractors of procurements by email based on the commodity codes they selected upon registration in MyFloridaMarketPlace as well as the commodity codes they have selected specific to each contract. To promote transparency, DEO will also notify via email all contractors whose registered commodity codes match the commodity codes attached to the procurement being advertised.

    Additionally, DEO will host a webinar in November 2021 to discuss the Reemployment Assistance Modernization Program. Those interested in signing up for this webinar can do so here.

How can I learn more about DEO’s procurement strategy?

  • DEO’s Reemployment Assistance Modernization Program is an ongoing process that involves the preparation of specifications for upcoming contracts.  To protect the competitive nature of these procurements, DEO will not have any discussions related to the scope, evaluation, or negotiation of any previous, current, or future procurements with vendors or their representatives, other than DEO’s IV&V vendor, who is precluded from bidding on future Reemployment Assistance Modernization contracts.  Procurements are subject to s. 287.057(23), Florida Statutes, between the release of the solicitation and the end of the 72-hour period following DEO’s posting the notice of intended award.

    DEO hosted a webinar on November 30, 2021 to discuss Reemployment Assistance Modernization and Procurement.
     

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