Updated March 30 at 12:29am

DLT installs computers in local libraries


PROVIDENCE – The R.I. Department of Labor and Training is using a $30,000 U.S. Department of Labor grant to install specifically formatted computers in local libraries for free and convenient access to that state’s online unemployment insurance claims filing-system.

The 30 specially formatted computers connect to the state’s EmployRI.org virtual career center and are intended for use by job seekers who lack home computers.

“Improving access to both unemployment insurance and job matching services is an important undertaking, and is part of my administration’s push to modernize government communication through internet-based tools and social media,” Gov. Lincoln D. Chafee said in prepared remarks.

Job seekers can use the computers to visit the DLT website at www.dlt.ri.gov to file unemployment claims or to certify for weekly benefit eligibility. Users can also visit www.employri.org, a virtual career center that spiders through multiple online job boards, as well as use connect to certain library applications including the AskRI reference resource center.

“Within the next 12 months, the department intends to transition its unemployment insurance system from its current mix of telephone and online claims-taking to an exclusively online format,’ DLT Director Charles J. Fogarty said in a statement. “ Before we make that change, however, we want to make sure that the public has adequate access to our internet applications. That is why deploying these computers in the community is so important.”

The following 15 libraries will host to the computers:

  • Central Falls Public Library.

  • Cranston Public Library (two computers).

  • East Providence Public Library.

  • Greenville Public Library.

  • Harmony Public Library.

  • Jesse M. Smith Memorial Library, Harrisville.

  • Newport Public Library.

  • Pawtucket Public Library (two computers).

  • Providence Public Library.

  • Providence Community Library/Mt. Pleasant.

  • South Kingstown Public Library.

  • Warwick Public Library.

  • Westerly Public Library (two computers).

  • West Warwick Public Library.

  • Woonsocket Public Library.

More than half of the computers have already been placed at their intended libraries.


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Why don't the DLT and Chafee use some of the grant money to hire more people to work in the DLT to process the claims and to address the issues of those who are filing? It's impossible to reach anyone at the DLT by telephone - the number is continually busy or if you get through, there is a pre-recorded message asking you to call back at another time. Emails go unanswered as well. I would say it's ironic having one of the highest unemployment rates in the country with an incredibly understaffed DLT, but it is RI after all.

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