$12M in new grants to help states update workforce programs

Research Improving People's Lives and Amazon Web Services is opening new funding to states seeking to modernize their workforce and unemployment programs.

Research Improving People’s Lives, a nonprofit that helps governments use technology and data for social good, is launching a $12 million grant program to support states in updating their workforce and unemployment programs.

RIPL’s grant program, provided with funding support from Amazon Web Services, will help state workforce agencies make their services more accessible to job seekers, RIPL CEO Scott Jensen said in a press release. Through the Data for Opportunity in Occupational Reskilling Solution, or DOORS, grant program, state workforce agencies can receive financial support and guidance on how to develop their own “one-stop shop for digital services” based on a piece of software, also called DOORS.

Jensen has previously been vocal in his criticism of workforce development agencies’ digital services, which he has said should be more user-friendly and accessible. At an Amazon Web Services event last year, Jensen said his team had developed a product he described as “like a Netflix for helping people find jobs. Or, in a wholesome way, Tinder for jobs.” That product, called DOORS, is now available for states to use and customize, with support from the DOORS grant program.

“Finding the right career path can change an entire family’s trajectory — especially for those from under-resourced communities,” Jensen said. “We are excited to work with states and other organizations to help them leverage cloud-based technologies to even the playing field.”


DOORS has already been rolled out in Maryland and Hawaii, and four more states are integrating the tool into their systems. The $12 million in grant funding is intended to allow additional states to deploy the technology with technical support and guidance from RIPL. Amazon Web Services provided funding for the grants. 

“State and local government agencies should have access to the same great infrastructure and services that are driving innovation in other industries,” said Kim Majerus, AWS’ vice president of global education, US state and local government. “AWS is proud to support this new grant program to help states build the foundation to transform their workforce and unemployment systems, to make it easier for individuals to discover new career opportunities.” 

The application deadline is March 10.

Latest Podcasts