Kansas Department Of Labor Continues Efforts To Bring Unemployment System Into 21st Century


Agency to begin work with Tata Consultancy Services to modernize antiquated system

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TOPEKA – The Kansas Department of Labor (KDOL) has announced that Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) has been selected to update the state’s antiquated IT-legacy system that is used to process unemployment insurance claims. The new system will improve the experiences of unemployed Kansans and businesses who interact with the unemployment insurance system.

“I promised that we would not kick the unemployment modernization can down the road any longer,” Governor Kelly said. “This is another significant step we are taking to fix the antiquated system and keeps that promise to Kansas employees and businesses. The state was close to modernizing our unemployment system before the previous Administration stopped the process in 2011. The selection of this vendor allows us to begin the work of modernization quickly so that we can ultimately better serve Kansans.”

The current mainframe system was launched in the 1970s. KDOL first began the modernization process under the Sebelius Administration in 2005, but that process was stopped in 2011 under the Brownback administration. The decision to end the modernization process in 2011 directly led to the system failures that occurred during the height of the pandemic, when the state’s unemployment system all but collapsed under the weight of record unemployment rates and the implementation of over a half-dozen new federally created pandemic unemployment systems.

TCS was selected after a competitive open-bid process that started last year. They are a leading global IT services and consulting organization that has partnered with several U.S. states to modernize their unemployment insurance systems, including Connecticut, Maine, Mississippi, Missouri, New York and Wyoming.

Today’s announcement launches a multi-year initiative focused on transforming the agency’s business processes and core technology systems. It will reshape the way KDOL will do business for Kansas employees and employers by considering business needs and technology solutions from an agency-wide perspective.

“We have made a significant amount of progress in a short amount of time and today’s announcement is just the latest example of this work,” Secretary Amber Shultz said. “We are committed to ensuring that our state is poised to address the challenges of today, but also the needs of tomorrow. Never again will Kansans be left behind during their time of need.”

KDOL has created a team dedicated to work with TCS and representatives from other agencies to ensure a smooth transition with the new unemployment insurance system. They will approach the process carefully, learning and adapting as they go to help the agency better serve Kansans in the future.

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Derek Nester
Derek Nester
Derek Nester was born and raised in Blue Rapids and graduated from Valley Heights High School in 2000. He attended Cowley College in Arkansas City and Johnson County Community College in Overland Park studying Journalism & Media Communications. In 2002 Derek joined Taylor Communications, Inc. in Salina, Kansas working in digital media for 550 AM KFRM and 100.9 FM KCLY. Following that stop, he joined Dierking Communications, Inc. stations KNDY AM & FM as a board operator and fill-in sports play-by-play announcer. Starting in 2005 Derek joined the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network as a Studio Coordinator at 101 The Fox in Kansas City, a role he would serve for 15 years culminating in the Super Bowl LIV Championship game broadcast. In 2021 he moved to Audacy, formerly known as Entercom Communications, Inc. and 106.5 The Wolf and 610 Sports Radio, the new flagship stations of the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network, the largest radio network in the NFL. Through all of this, Derek continues to serve as the Digital Media Director for Sunflower State Radio, the digital and social media operations of Dierking Communications, Inc. and the 6 radio stations it owns and operates across Kansas.

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