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Michigan Department of Human Services, Unemployment Insurance Agency join forces to open mini Problem Resolution Offices in three DHS local offices

Sept. 8, 2009

Contacts:
Edward Woods III, DHS Office of Communications director, 517-373-7394
Norman Isotalo, DELEG communications specialist, 313-456-2939

At an event held at the Muskegon County Department of Human Services office today, the Unemployment Insurance Agency (UIA) and the Michigan Department of Human Services (DHS) announced the opening of temporary Problem Resolution Offices (PRO) in three county DHS offices.

"By co-locating small PRO offices in these three DHS offices we can help unemployed workers in western Michigan and Mt. Clemens resolve problems they may have with claims for unemployment benefits," said Stanley "Skip" Pruss, director of the Michigan Department of Energy, Labor and Economic Growth. "Thanks to our partnership with DHS, these mini PRO will help provide information about unemployment benefits in some of the more heavily populated areas of the state that until now did not have convenient access to in-person help with unemployment claims."

DHS Director Ismael Ahmed said, "This innovative one-step approach to service delivery will be quick, convenient, efficient and cost-effective. That's a real plus for DHS, for the UIA and, especially, for the customers we both serve. It's also a valuable tool for helping us achieve our mission of protecting the state's vulnerable children, adults and families.

"This initiative is consistent with our other efforts to make services easier to access, such as our new online food assistance application, MiBridges."

The temporary PROs will be located within local DHS offices in:

  • Kalamazoo at 322 Stockbridge Ave.
  • Mt. Clemens at 21885 Dunham Road Ste. 7, Clinton Township
  • Muskegon at 2700 Baker St., Muskegon Heights

Each PRO will have a staff of three, who will serve walk-in traffic only. The offices will also provide a direct-dial telephone customers can use to file for unemployment benefits or inquire about their claims.

The offices will also have computers on-site that will allow customers to file unemployment claims online, access UIA's portal and access Web sites for UIA and Michigan Works!

"We are also modifying the computer kiosks in all of UIA's Problem Resolution Offices to allow access to various DHS sites in addition to existing help sites," Pruss noted.

PRO computer kiosks will have links to the online application for food assistance, called MiBridges, and FAST (Family Automated Screening Tool) for those seeking cash assistance.

UIA Director Stephen Geskey said four factors were considered in determining where the offices should be located: county population, county unemployment rate, projected county unemployment insurance exhaustion rate and proximity to an existing PRO. UIA currently has PROs in Detroit, Gaylord, Grand Rapids, Lansing, Livonia, Marquette, Pontiac and Saginaw.

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