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The Hawaii state unemployment insurance system is not unique in being antiquated, overloaded, and massively backlogged in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. There was a crisis unfolding across the country years earlier. But that's not much comfort to the thousands of people struggling to make ends meet while they wait for things to catch up.
The Department of Labor & Industrial Relations recently announced a $10 million contract to upgrade the mainframe-based system to a cloud-based one, hiring an 11-month old Idaho company named Solid State Ops. The department says it will take 18 months to stand up, and will be a brand new setup, not a conversion from the current one.
Hawaii News Now sought some context on whether $10 million or 18 months were reasonable. Having previously weighed in on the topic on KITV, I was a sufficient stand-in for DLIR officials, who were stubbornly unavailable for comment.