Artificial Intelligence Aims to Reduce Unemployment

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Nevada Department of Employment, Training, and Rehabilitation (DETR) and The Career Index (TCI) Take on Nevada Workforce Development with AI

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In its ongoing efforts to address Nevada’s employment needs and continue its mission of building a viable workforce for the state, the Rehabilitation Division, which is part of the Nevada Department of Employment, Training, and Rehabilitation (DETR) recently implemented the use of SARA, the first and only end-to-end Artificial Intelligence (AI) application specifically geared for the human services field. SARA allows public agencies to scale communications with the populations they serve to alleviate the huge bottleneck of data entry and documentation and improve agency outcomes. With more than 40 implementations in eleven states, SARA can be implemented in virtually any environment in a few months.

The agency anticipates this partnership with AI will modernize case management and leverage texting and email. This form of communication not only increases the rate of contact, it also engages a population that prefers digital modes of communication - and may not have access to technology outside of a mobile device.

The ability of a caseworker to effectively manage caseloads is enhanced by using SARA, as the virtual assistant handles much of the compliance and documentation, integrating directly with the case management system thereby reducing double entry. SARA also sanctions data sharing with other agencies to ensure multi-program efficacy, reduce communication lag and improve outcomes by reducing needless repetition.

“Vocational Rehabilitation’s primary emphasis on providing necessary services to help Nevadans with disabilities to work and live independently is further enhanced by our implementation of SARA,” said Shelley Hendren, Administrator of DETR’s Rehabilitation Division. “The integration of this virtual technology will make our staff more efficient and able to communicate quicker and more efficiently with our clients thereby making their experience with our division more streamlined and effective.”

Counselors such as Scott Cool at the Bureau of Vocational Rehabilitation, have reported how SARA has assisted in the ability for them to set their clients up for success. “SARA has enhanced how we as counselors communicate with clientele. Imagine a visually-impaired individual being able to communicate with their counselor in the middle of the community, sending messages, reviewing and attaching documents where before they did not have the ability to respond without first checking their mailbox, e-mail, or having to physically come to the office. SARA has proven to be another substantial tool for vocational rehabilitation counselors as an alternative for communication.”

This real-time response also supports higher success rates. Further, SARA helps DETR’s Vocational Rehabilitation program meet Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) requirements by integrating data systems, collecting required data and reporting common performance measures across multiple agencies.

About SARA and The Career Index (TCI)
The Career Index was established in 2010 to provide vocational rehabilitation agencies a streamlined occupational information system developed specifically for the benefit of people with disabilities. SARA, TCI’s flagship product, was developed in 2011 based upon the idea that advances in technology and the proliferation of cell phones would make it possible to create an intelligent two-way communication system that would alleviate the huge bottleneck of data entry and documentation.

About Nevada DETR
DETR's mission is to provide Nevada's businesses with access to a qualified workforce and encourage equal employment opportunities. The Department of Employment, Training & Rehabilitation consists of divisions that offer assistance in job training and placement, vocational rehabilitation, workplace discrimination prevention and in collecting and analyzing workforce and economic data. Many of these services are provided through DETR's partnership with the Nevada JobConnect system.

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Lisa Gerber
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