The Department of Labor has many resources that are very beneficial to laid off workers and employers. This is one of those that is available for emergencies. (Editor’s Note)
Being laid off from your job is one of the most traumatic events you can experience in life. However, you do not need to go through this transition alone. Working with your employer, there are services and resources that can be brought to you, on site at your company prior to your layoff date. These services and resources are part of a program called Rapid Response, which will customize services and resources to your needs and the needs of your company, with a goal of getting you back to work as soon as possible and minimize the disruptions on your life that a layoff will cause. The Rapid Response team will provide you the means to maintain an income (unemployment insurance), information on health insurance options, access to skills upgrading and training resources, and much more. This service is extremely valuable: the earlier services are begun, the better. Services and resources vary, so be sure to attend Rapid Response sessions when they are offered so that you are aware of the full array of benefits for which you may be eligible.
Notice of Layoffs
Rapid Response is initiated when the state Dislocated Worker Unit or Rapid Response team learns of impending layoffs. Many companies will contact the Rapid Response team to notify them of a layoff and invite them to come on site to help the workers who will be laid off. In some cases, employers are required to provide 60 days notice before a layoff. Certain mass layoffs and plant closings will meet the criteria of the Worker Adjustment and Retraining (WARN) Act; the criteria are complex, but some basic levels are layoffs of 50 or more workers at a single site, where 50 is at least one-third of the total full-time workforce at that site, or any layoffs of 500 or more workers at a single site. Other times employers may publicly announce layoffs through the media. If you know your company is planning layoffs and have not been told that Rapid Response services will be available to you, or your company laid you off without notice, please contact your state’s Rapid Response team.
Rapid Response Services to Laid-Off Workers
During Rapid Response, specialists trained to help you cope with job change will gather information about your needs and begin to organize the services necessary to help you return to work. At employee orientation meetings, you will be informed about services and benefits designed to help you get back on your feet, including:
- Career counseling and job search assistance
- Resume preparation and interviewing skills workshops
- Local labor market facts and figures
- Unemployment insurance
- Education and training opportunities
- Health benefits and pensions
Local services that may be available to you include use of computers, telephones, and fax machines for your job search; financial planning and stress management workshops; financial support for training; income support if your job was lost due to foreign trade; and special services for veterans and adults with disabilities.
Once again, services, resources and benefits vary from state to state; attending any Rapid Response events will provide you with the information you need in your particular case.
Connections to Other Re-Employment Services
In addition to many direct services, Rapid Response on-site meetings will introduce you to many other program partners and their representatives, who often have access to further resources.
Perhaps the most important of these Rapid Response partners is the One-Stop Career Center. The One-Stop 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, for anyone who wishes to have access to them. Every state has a One-Stop network that is open to all residents, including those who have been laid off or expect to be laid off from their jobs.
Benefits of Rapid Response to Workers
When your company allows Rapid Response activities to take place on the company site and on company time, you will be able to begin services, including training, before you lose your job. The sooner this process starts, the more quickly the stress of a traumatic event such as a layoff can be managed, through access to important information and services that will enhance re-employment opportunities. Be sure to take advantage of whatever services are provided during the Rapid Response process, while you are still employed or while unemployment insurance benefits, severance payments or other financial resources are still available to you.
Trade-Related Layoffs and Plant Closings
With many American jobs being lost due to foreign trade and the phenomenon commonly known as “offshoring,” 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.
Rapid Response Contact Information
Contact your state’s Dislocated Worker/Rapid Response Team for information or to let them know of an impending layoff. For additional info go to Dept of Labor: