Maryland Department of Labor adding unemployment call center agents, security guards

MD unemployment
Posted at 5:48 PM, Aug 10, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-11 17:11:51-04

BALTIMORE — The Maryland Department of Labor is adding more virtual call center agents to assist with unemployment insurance as well as security guards for 16 of their offices.

On Wednesday, the Board of Public Works accepted two emergency contracts, which had already been awarded through an emergency procurement.

The Department hired Accenture April 2020 to assist with answering calls from unemployment insurance claimants. The original contract was worth $22 million. The new revised amount is for roughly $160 million and the term has been extended through the end of this year.

In its remarks, the Department wrote:

“These contract modifications allow the agency to serve citizens in providing Pandemic Unemployment Insurance Benefits. Accenture has made a significant impact and continues to provide a virtual call center to support Unemployment Insurance in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.”

According to a training staff table, around 1,625 call center agents are currently assisting claimants and a total of 1,875 agents will be brought on by September 13.

The Department also awarded a $295,000 contract to Tactical Security Solutions, Inc. in Oxon Hill, Md. to provide uniformed unarmed security guards at 16 Maryland Department of Labor locations around the state.

The contract term began on July 2, 2021 and continues through January 1, 2022.

The Department wrote: “The need for a safe and secure environment for the re-entry of Department of Labor employees, visitors, and customers cannot be overemphasized.”

Each of the 16 locations will have one uniformed unarmed security guard, for a period of six months, Monday through Friday except for Federal/State Holidays, and emergency closure of State Offices.

RELATED: The cost to create Maryland's unemployment site, hire call center staff

Finally, the Department of Labor was granted approval for a contract extension with N-3 Technologies in Rockville, Md. for continued support of the unemployment insurance modernization project.

The $261,000 contract is set to expire on September 4, 2021. The Department is requesting to extend the contract through September 6, 2023 for the total amount of $1,063,880.

The Department wrote:

“It is imperative for the success of the project to extend the contract to complete the UI modernization project within the allotted time frame. The project was implemented in September 2020. Since then, there were many changes due to the new regulations and laws passed at both the federal level and the state level. There were also changes required due to the contract changes with the financial institution as the current bank did not want to continue the contract. As part of the maintenance there were several system enhancements identified that needed to be completed. There were State, Federal and contract mandates that needed to be implemented in a really small timeframe. To support all these activities in a timely fashion Labor needs to extend this contract.”

All three contracts will be paid using federal funds. The Board of Public Works approved the three contracts without public discussion.