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9.1 Rapid Response Introduction and Overview


Chapter 9.1.1 Resources

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9.1.1 Introduction and Overview

Effective date: July 1, 2022

Rapid Response encompasses the state's strategies and activities to respond to permanent closures, mass layoffs, or natural or other disasters which result in mass job loss.1 The purpose of Rapid Response is to promote economic recovery and vitality by developing an ongoing, comprehensive approach to identifying, planning for, and responding to layoffs and dislocations. Rapid Response also includes preventing or minimizing the impacts of layoffs and dislocations on workers, businesses, and communities.2 Rapid Response activities and strategies deliver services to enable dislocated workers to transition to new employment as quickly as possible.3

DWD-DET's designated local Rapid Response teams carry out Rapid Response activities in each local Workforce Development Area (WDA). DWD-DET's Bureau of Workforce Training oversees the rapid response activities undertaken by local Rapid Response Teams and carries out and/or coordinates statewide Rapid Response activities.4 Funding is made available through the issuance of annual Rapid Response grants to support the provision of these services.

In partnership with state staff, Local Rapid Response teams must deliver services when one or more of the following occur:

  1. announcement or notification of a permanent closure, regardless of the number of workers affected;
  2. announcement or notification of a mass layoff as defined by state or local emergency management policies;5
  3. a mass job dislocation resulting from a natural or other disaster; or
  4. the filing of a Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) petition.6

Note: For the purposes of Rapid Response, when a mass layoff notice (commonly called a WARN Notice) has been filed, the announced layoff is defined as a mass layoff regardless of the number of affected workers.7

To better serve workers and businesses within their communities, DWD-DET encourages Rapid Response teams to deliver Rapid Response services to as many workers and companies as possible, even if the dislocation does not meet, at a minimum, one of the four circumstances listed above.8 To further meet the needs of communities, the determination and definition of a disaster will be at the discretion of local WDB's (Workforce Development Boards).

Mass Layoff

Effective date: April 26, 2022

Consistent with 20 CFR § 682.305(a) and Wis, State. § 109.07 (1)(f) DWD-DET defines a "mass layoff" (aka "substantial layoff") as a layoff event that affects 25 percent of workers or 25 or more workers whichever is greater, when

  • the employer has specified that the layoff is permanent;
  • the employer has not given a recall date;
  • the employer has given a recall date that is more than 12 weeks after the date of the dislocation. DWD-DET has chosen this time frame to be consistent with UI's job search waiver limit of 12 weeks for employees expecting to be recalled by an employer per Wis. Stat. § 108.04(2)(b)1 (2017).

Wis. Admin. Code § DWD 279.04(2) states that two or more groups of employees affected during a 90-day period may be considered in the aggregate to determine whether the business closing, or mass layoff thresholds have been met, unless the loss of employment in different groups are the result of separate and distinct actions and causes.

Mass Job Dislocation

Effective date: April 26, 2022

Consistent with 81 FR 56196, DWD-DET defines "mass job dislocation" as a natural or other disaster event, as defined by state or local emergency management policies that

  • results in job loss for a number of workers sufficient to meet a state's definition for mass layoff;
  • causes 50 or more workers to become dislocated.

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