LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Nevada’s Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation, or DETR, will undergo a major modernization project designed to make the process of filing for unemployment easier for Nevadans.

Weaknesses in the system became apparent during the COVID-19 pandemic when a record number of Nevadans were filing unemployment claims. The system became bogged down and backlogged with claims leaving thousands of Nevadans unable to file a claim or receive benefits.

According to a news release from DETR Wednesday, the Board of Examiners granted the green light to begin the process of building the new system but it won’t happen quickly.

“It is projected to take up to four years to complete all elements of the new system. The front and back end of the UI website will operate more efficiently and will be more accessible to staff and users. The new system will collect unemployment taxes, pay out benefits to eligible claimants, and handle appeals.  It is also designed to handle tough economic times, prevent fraud, and implement new benefit programs quickly,” the release stated. 

It will cost $72 million for the new system and that money will come from a grant from the federal government’s American Rescue Plan Act of 2021.

“The UI Modernization project kicking off soon is going to be a huge leap forward. This will make it significantly easier for eligible Nevadans to get paid the benefits they need. It will be a boost for businesses to track payments and claims. And it will make this work easier for staff,” said DETR Director, Elisa Cafferata.

The vendor selected for the project, FAST, has worked on several states’ unemployment and tax software systems over the past 12 years, the news release said.