May 7

Watch Now

Unemployment claims are surging throughout the country, and the state of Rhode Island is no exception. The Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training (DLT), which manages unemployment insurance (UI) claims for state residents, received more than 140,000 initial claims for the UI program alone in the first 45 days after the governor declared a state of emergency.

But what DLT did next forever changed the speed and efficiency with which it serves its citizens.

Join Governing at 10 a.m. Pacific/1 p.m. Eastern on May 7 to hear Scott Jensen, director of DLT, discuss how DLT partnered with Amazon Web Services (AWS) to launch a cloud-based contact center solution to replace the department’s legacy interactive voice response (IVR) and interactive web response (IWR) systems and expand its capacity to take thousands of simultaneous calls.

Register now and hear:

  • How the solution enabled nearly 75,000 Rhode Island residents to successfully file continuing unemployment claims on its first day
  • How a new cloud-based online process is allowing DLT to collect and store Pandemic Unemployment Assistance application information
  • How your state can harness the cloud for a rapid solution to a surge in unemployment claims


Scott Jensen

Scott Jensen

Director, Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training (DLT)

Scott R. Jensen is the Director of the Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training. Unanimously confirmed in 2015, Jensen is leading Governor Gina M. Raimondo’s skills agenda, designed to give Rhode Islanders the tools to succeed in the 21st-century economy. Drawing from his experience as a top workforce development official in Maryland, Jensen implemented Real Jobs Rhode Island (Real Jobs RI) within six months of taking the helm at the Department.

Jensen is streamlining the Department’s Unemployment Insurance program to speed up service for claimants and employers alike, improve accuracy, and keep costs down. Before coming to Rhode Island, Jensen served as Deputy Secretary of the Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing, and Regulation from 2012 to 2014. Jensen holds a BA in History from Illinois State, and a Master of Arts in Liberal Education from St. John’s College in Annapolis, MD. Jensen was a Ph.D. candidate in Philosophy at the Graduate Faculty of the New School for Social Research in New York, NY, where he specialized in Husserlian phenomenology and late-Wittgenstein.

Stuart Venzke

Stuart Venzke

State and Local Health and Human Services Executive, Amazon Web Services (AWS)

Stuart Venzke is part of AWS’ Health and Human Services team, focused on labor, workforce, and human services. Before joining AWS, Stuart led the state and local government health and human services business for a global system integrator, and before that was the chief operating officer of a large, integrated public sector health and human services agency. He has more than twenty-five years of experience as a health and human services executive or consultant, always working to provide more effective, more efficient, and more responsive services.

Professor Justine Hastings

Professor Justine Hastings

Director, Research Improving People’s Lives (RIPL)

As director of RIPL, a non-profit social impact tech organization that works with governments to help them use data, science, and technology to improve policy and lives. Her research expertise spans in Industrial Organization and Public Economics to address important economic and policy questions. She has conducted academic research on topics such as market structure and competition, environment and energy regulation, advertising and consumer protection, consumer financial markets, health care, social safety-net programs, and markets for higher education. Her research employs diverse empirical techniques including field experiments, survey analysis, machine learning, predictive analytics, analysis of large administrative datasets, and structural demand and supply estimation. He research was cited in the 2017 Nobel Prize scientific background materials implications, and has been used to shape public policy improvements around the world.

Professor Hastings has served as an expert advisor on the Academic Research Council to the United States Federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. She has served as the Managing Editor for the International Journal on Industrial Organization, an Editorial Board member of the Journal of Economic Literature, and a Co-Editor for the Journal of Public Economics.

Phil Bertolini

Phil Bertolini — Moderator

Co-executive Director, Center for Digital Government, former CIO Oakland County, MI

Phil Bertolini is the Co-Director of the Center for Digital Government (CDG), a national research and advisory institute on information technology policies and best practices in state and local government. Previously, he served as deputy county executive and CIO for Oakland County, Michigan.

During his 31-year tenure, Phil built a world-class IT organization in the second-largest county in Michigan, just north of Detroit. As Oakland County CIO, he oversaw more than 150 employees serving over 1.2 million residents. In 2005, he was also promoted to deputy county executive, holding dual positions until his retirement.

Phil’s efforts earned the county national attention, winning numerous awards for technology innovation and excellence. He was named one of Governing Magazine’s Public Official of the Year and Government Technology Magazine’s Top 25 Doers, Dreamers & Drivers. He was also honored by the President Obama White House as a Champion of Change for 2012.