The Process of Working with the Dislocated Worker Program
The rapid response team is able to begin working with your company as soon you provide notice that your company is considering or experiencing permanent layoffs. Remember, early intervention is absolutely key for helping make this transition as smooth as possible for everyone involved.
Step 1: Notification
The first step to obtaining assistance is to contact the rapid response team. Federal and state statutes require employers to provide advance written notice of a business closing or workforce reduction in certain situations. More information about notice requirements is available here.
Step 2: The Initial Meeting
Once an employer contacts the rapid response team or provides written notice of a business closing or workforce reduction, we will ask to schedule an initial meeting to further discuss the situation and begin developing a transition plan. A state and local rapid response coordinator will attend this meeting along with appropriate employer representatives and, if applicable, union or other employee representatives. In some cases it may be advantageous to invite other parties, like a state and/or local economic development representative.
Typically the initial meeting is held at the employer’s place of business but we can arrange an alternative meeting site upon request.
Even if the layoffs are not scheduled to occur for a number of months, we still encourage you to contact us right away. In some cases, the rapid response team may be able to help an employer connect with resources that could help to avert the layoffs entirely or reduce the number of employees to be affected. The rapid response team can also begin planning how to best help those workers who will eventually be let go.
Step 3: Developing a Transition Strategy
The rapid response team will work with the employer and any union or other employee representatives to begin preparing a transition strategy. To best assist, the rapid response team will need to understand:
- the anticipated layoff schedule,
- the employer’s needs and expectations,
- the employee representative’s needs and expectations,
- available resources,
- time and resource constraints,
- community factors, and
- workforce demographics, education, skills and needs.
The rapid response team will help to identify and leverage resources as everyone works together to design the transition strategy. Enhanced transition services may be available depending on the circumstances surrounding the layoffs.
Step 4: Onsite Worker Informational Sessions
At minimum, the rapid response team will work with the employer and any employee representatives to schedule onsite informational sessions for the affected workforce. Core topics typically covered at these sessions include: the Dislocated Worker Program, Unemployment Insurance, and health insurance considerations and options. Additional topics relating to financial education and community resources may be covered as well.
The topics may all be presented during a single session or split amongst multiple sessions, depending on the circumstances. The rapid response team tries to be as flexible as possible when it comes to determining the best format and the number of sessions needed to accommodate the affected workforce, including making arrangements for multiple shifts.
Ideally, any informational sessions will be offered on-site at your company and on paid time to encourage employees’ attendance. Employees who participate will learn about resources that can help them secure new employment. Employees will also be informed that prematurely terminating their employment may result in ineligibility for many of the programs and benefits that would otherwise be available to them had they stayed on until officially laid off.
If any of the employees participating in these sessions need any special accommodations, including translation needs, please let the rapid response team know in advance so they may do their best to make appropriate arrangements.
Step 5: Worker Surveys
It is important that the rapid response team survey your affected workforce. While completing the survey is voluntary, all affected employees are strongly encouraged to complete one because the information may be used for re-employment, retraining, research, funding and economic development purposes. The survey information may also prove helpful during the transition strategy development phase. When completing the survey, employees will be asked to answer demographic questions, employment related questions, and questions relating to the types of programs and services they may wish to utilize. Individual results are not shared with anyone outside of the state’s workforce programs.
The rapid response team will work with the employer and any employee representatives to determine the best timing for survey distribution and collection. Frequently the surveys are completed during the onsite worker informational sessions.
Step 6: Conclusion of Services
The state and/or local rapid response contact will continue to be there as a resource until all employees have been separated.