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In the current environment of UI system modernization, which varies by state, the overall cost of change is often the major barrier to program and system enhancement. Simultaneously, the marketplace for software solutions is limited and struggles to meet market demand and to provide cost-effective and flexible solutions.

Myriad factors drove and drive the current state of the UI technology ecosystem, but a coordinated investment is necessary to effectuate the advantages of modern technology in the UI ecosystem. Today, the program is on the cusp of the most significant changes in technology since the adoption of mainframe technologies: the Open UI Initiative (OUII), which the US Department of Labor announced in collaboration with NASWA’S UI ITSC in December 2023.

Open UI Initiative Vision

The OUII establishes a new approach to building and buying technology, alongside developing new partnerships, to enable an expanded ecosystem of open and modular solutions.

UI ITSC will bring together stakeholders, including states, vendors, and subject matter experts, to establish an organizing framework for modular development. This framework will

    • Identify the common functions across UI benefits, tax, and appeals systems today,
    • Define a set of modules to support them, and
    • Document related interoperability standards that guide how those modules should function and work together.

Beyond the benefit to an individual state of using the OUII, a critical mass of participating states will push the marketplace toward use of the OUII with their procurement power. States that are satisfied with their current solutions can continue to do so, but the vendors they use may choose to participate in the OUII for particular modules. The published standardization of requirements among states will make it easier for new entrants to be successful, increasing competition and innovation.

Technical Advisory Group

In support of the OUII, UI ITSC is establishing the new UI Modernization Technical Advisory Group (TAG), which will, among other things, provide strategic input on the direction, execution, and evolution of the OUII and its governance; make recommendations regarding stakeholder engagement, outreach, and education; and build legitimacy, confidence, and traction around the initiative. There will be in-person gatherings twice a year to facilitate collaboration, in addition to both regular and ad hoc virtual meetings as needed.

The TAG is an interim institution to get the OUII off the ground and will help establish a lasting “Trusted Authority” as the OUII matures. This Trusted Authority will do the work to continue developing the OUII as well as validate the work contributed by others. It will be responsible for publishing OUII protocols and documentation and providing a mechanism for safely sharing artifacts (including, but not limited to, software code).

In addition to the TAG, there will be regular mechanisms for additional stakeholders to learn about, provide feedback on, and otherwise participate in the OUIP development process.


NASWA UI Information Technology Support Center
In Partnership with USDOL
444 North Capitol Street, NW | Suite 300 Washington, DC 20001