Rapid Response Services for Employers
In our increasingly globalized and highly competitive economy, businesses are hardly ever stable. Companies are constantly growing or shrinking, or are facing barriers that keep them from growing. One of the biggest challenges companies must face is having a workforce that is skilled enough to allow them to innovate and compete, and ultimately grow and prosper, in this economy.
Your state and local area offer many resources that can assist your company, regardless of where your company is in the business cycle. One such resource is called Rapid Response. Rapid Response is a pro-active, business-focused, and flexible strategy designed for two major purposes. First, to help growing companies access an available pool of skilled workers from other companies that are downsizing or who have been trained in the skills your company needs to be competitive.
Second, to respond to layoffs and plant closings by quickly coordinating services and providing immediate aid to companies and their affected workers. Rapid Response teams will work with employers and any employee representative(s) to quickly maximize public and private resources to minimize the disruptions on companies, affected workers, and communities that are associated with job loss. Rapid Response can provide customized services on-site at an affected company, accommodate any work schedules, and assist companies and workers through the painful transitions associated with job loss.
If you are looking to access skilled workers, are expecting a layoff or plant closing or wish to learn more about the services Rapid Response can provide to your business, contact your state's Dislocated Worker Unit which operates Rapid Response.
Benefit to Employers
Providing Rapid Response services to your workers during layoffs or plant closings will result in multiple benefits to you as an employer. The more quickly the Rapid Response strategy is implemented, the better off your company and workers will be. Contact your state's Dislocated Worker Unit to notify them of impending layoffs; providing Rapid Response to your workers will help assure:
- Higher productivity and worker morale and lower absenteeism during layoff event due to reduced stress.
- Lower unemployment insurance costs as workers are re-employed more quickly when services are begun prior to layoff
- Decreased likelihood of sabotage or work disruptions
- Media and rumor management. Rapid Response teams understand the often confidential nature of layoffs, and will work with the company to ensure confidentiality at all times
- Better public relations for an employer. Rapid Response teams can also work with the media to highlight services an employer is providing to its workers during a layoff period, which will improve a company's public image
Rapid Response teams can also provide information to companies with regard to any state or federal requirements or laws for notification, including the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act.
Benefits to Your Workers
The decision to lay off employees is one no employer wants to make. However, as layoffs do occur, inviting Rapid Response teams to meet with affected workers prior to the layoff will allow your employees to access services and programs that will help them through this difficult time. Rapid Response teams can provide your employees with information and services, including:
- Career counseling and job search assistance
- Resume preparation and interviewing skills workshops
- Information on the local labor market
- Unemployment insurance
- Information about Education and training opportunities
- Information on Health benefits and pensions
- And much more!
Additionally, Rapid Response on-site meetings will introduce your workers to representatives of many other programs that can help them through this transition. Perhaps the most important of these partners is the American Job Center. The American Job Center system was designed to bring together many separate partners to seamlessly provide an array of services, from resume preparation to job search to placement to supportive services, to anyone who wishes to have access to these services. Every state has an American Job network open to all residents, including those who have been laid off or expect to be laid off from their job. The American Job Center also has services tailored to meet the workforce needs of local employers, so contact your local American Job Center or state Dislocated Worker Unit to learn more.
Trade-Related Layoffs and Plant Closings
The federal government provides additional services to workers whose jobs are lost due to foreign trade or shifts in production out of the United States. While not all job loss due to foreign competition meets the requirements of the Trade Act, the Rapid Response team will work with your company to provide information on Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) and the benefits you can receive if your company is certified as trade-affected. Your company, the Rapid Response team, or the workers themselves can file a trade petition with the United States Department of Labor. For more information on the Trade Act Program and its benefits, contact your state's Dislocated Worker Unit. TAA and its benefits are provided at no cost to you as an employer and allow your workers to access an even wider array of services than they would otherwise be eligible for; ask your Rapid Response contact for more information on TAA and the petition process.
Additional Rapid Response Services
In addition to the benefits described above, the Rapid Response team can help provide you with important information and other services. Ask your Rapid Response team for information on any of the below subjects.
Planning for and Avoiding Future Layoffs
Your state may offer incumbent worker training programs to help upgrade your workers' skills, employer loan programs, and other services that may help avert or minimize layoffs. The Rapid Response team can provide information on these programs. Here are some links to organizations and resources that might be beneficial to your company:
- Your state Division of Economic Development helps existing businesses expand and assists local development efforts.
- The U.S. Department of Commerce promotes job creation, economic growth, sustainable development and improved living standards by working in partnership with business, universities, communities and workers to ensure sustainable economic opportunities.
- Unemployment Insurance Short-Time Compensation (STC) may be available for employees to work shorter hours instead of being laid off and be compensated for their lost work time with partial unemployment benefits.
- Manufacturing Extension Partnerships are a nationwide network of not-for-profit centers in over 400 locations nationwide, whose sole purpose is to provide small and medium-sized manufacturers with the help they need to succeed.
- If you are located in a Rural Area, the US Department of Agriculture's Rural Business-Cooperative Service may assist you.
You may also wish to consider selling your business to a buyer, several buyers, a management group or employees. The Rapid Response team can help you with this and other layoff aversion options.
Accessing Skilled Job Seekers
The American Job Center system is an excellent source of skilled workers in your community. Developing relationships with your Rapid Response team can also benefit you during hiring phases as the team will have up-to-date information on skilled workers looking for employment in your area.Meeting Government Reporting Requirements
Under certain conditions, the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act requires employers to give their workers 60 days notice before a plant closing or mass layoff. All employers are encouraged to provide notice to the state Dislocated Worker Unit as quickly as possible. Some states also have plant closure laws, and those state laws may impose additional requirements. If you are an employer facing the prospect of a layoff, contact your state Dislocated Worker Unit immediately to find out more information on notice requirements in your area.
Rights and Responsibilities under Employment Laws and Regulations
Elaws Advisors help you understand your rights and responsibilities under the employment laws and regulations, such as the WARN Act, administered by the Department of Labor (DOL). Each Advisor imitates the interaction you might have with an employment law expert. The Advisors ask questions and provide answers based on your responses.
Rapid Response Contact Information
Contact your state's Dislocated Worker or Rapid Response team for additional information on the benefits of Rapid Response and other services for your company, or to provide notice of an impending layoff.