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The Nebraska Department of Labor is a key resource at the state level for workforce and employment support. Comprehensive offerings include NEworks.nebraska.gov, the state’s online labor exchange system where employers can list their jobs for free and search candidates, and initiatives such as the new Job Driven Program. Evan Littrell is the Administrator of Unemployment Insurance Benefits for the Nebraska Department of Labor.

Tell us a little about your business. – The Unemployment Insurance Program was established 80 years ago as a federal-state partnership to provide temporary wage replacement for workers who become unemployed through no fault of their own.  As UI Benefits Administrator, I oversee the eligibility determination and performance integrity of benefit payments, including claims, adjudication, benefit fraud prevention, detection, and recovery, and federally required performance metrics.  Our primary mission is to provide timely and accurate benefit payments to Nebraska workers as they seek reemployment.

How did you get started in the business? – I was fresh out of graduate school and working for another state agency.  I saw the opportunity to apply some of my education in political science at the Nebraska Department of Labor (NDOL) and applied for a position as an Unemployment Insurance Adjudicator.  Since then I’ve stayed in UI and worked my way up through various management roles to UI Benefits Administrator.

What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced professionally? – Balancing my commitments and desires to serve as a civilian public employee with NDOL and as an officer in the Nebraska Air National Guard.

What has been your most important achievement professionally? – As Program Supervisor of the Benefit Payment Control Unit, I developed processes for the prevention, detection, and recovery of improper Unemployment Compensation payments, enhancing the integrity of the UI Program and collecting delinquent overpayments to restore the UI Trust Fund.

Tell us a little about your family. – I’m married to my beautiful wife of eight years, with whom I have three boys, ages 6, 4, 3, and our 1-year-old daughter.

What do you see as one of the biggest turning points in your life? – Deploying as a member of the Nebraska Air National Guard to Afghanistan (2013).

What is your favorite thing to do on a day off? – Exercise.  I enjoy running, golfing, and chasing my children.

What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received? – My father, quoting Dag Hammarskjöld, “Life only demands from you the strength you possess.  Only one feat is possible—not to have run away.”

If you could have a super power, what would it be? – Getting my children to go to bed at a reasonable hour.

Which talent would you most like to have? – Patience.

If you could choose any other profession to be successful in, what would it be? – Professional policy advisor or consultant.

What local non-profit organization(s) are you passionate about or involved with, and are there any special reasons why? – I’m a supporter of the Special Olympics and on the board of Lincoln Literacy.  I believe strongly in these organizations because they provide positive experiences for their participants and the community as a whole.

What is your favorite book or the last good book you read? – Franny and Zooey by JD Salinger.

What is your favorite TV show? – Football.

What is your favorite local restaurant? – Dino’s Eastside Grille.

If you could have dinner with one famous person from the past or present, who would it be? – Robert F. Kennedy.

If our readers would like to contact you, how should they do so? – I can be contacted at the Nebraska Department of Labor office at (402) 471-9000. To find out more about NDOL’s current offerings and programs, visit our website at dol.nebraska.gov.

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