In our last entry we covered 682.330(a), which describes the layoff aversion requirement. This post will cover 682.330(b)-(e); these 4 sub-paragraphs appear in the WIOA regulations largely unchanged from how they were in WIA; let’s take a deeper look at each of these.
These four paragraphs address what has traditionally been considered the core activities of Rapid Response: meeting with companies and their affected workers, planning intervention strategies based on the specific conditions, providing critical information, and determining what sort of resources are available or needed to meet the needs of the business and the workers.
Let’s break down each of these paragraphs:
(b) Immediate and on-site contact with the employer, representatives of the affected workers, and the local community, including an assessment of and plans to address the:
(1) Layoff plans and schedule of the employer;
(2) Background and probable assistance needs of the affected workers;
(3) Reemployment prospects for workers; and
(4) Available resources to meet the short and long-term assistance needs of the affected workers.
Where 682.330(a) discussed layoff aversion, (b) focuses on meeting with the company and other stakeholders upon notification of a potential layoff to address key questions, including when the layoff or closure will occur, the demographics of the workforce that is likely to be impacted, what the environment for reemployment looks like in the community or in the region, and what sort of services or resources the affected workers are likely to need. We should point out that the requirement is not only for Rapid Response to immediately meet with the affected company, but also representatives of the affected workers (where there is a union) as well as representatives of the local community. As we’ll discuss when we get to paragraph (e), connecting with leaders from the affected community or communities is an important part of the responsibility of Rapid Response. There are many reasons why working with the leaders of these communities is important, including identification of resources to support layoff aversion approaches, to determine if new companies are moving into the area and in need of skilled workers with similar skill sets, or to find alternative space for worker orientation sessions when the company will not or cannot provide such space.
(c) The provision of information and access to unemployment compensation benefits and programs, such as Short-Time Compensation, comprehensive one-stop delivery system services, and employment and training activities, including information on the Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) program (19 U.S.C. 2271 et seq.), Pell Grants, the GI Bill, and other resources;
This paragraph discusses the sorts of informational services that Rapid Response must provide to affected workers when a situation requiring Rapid Response occurs. The Regulation includes a number of examples of the types of information that ought to be provided to the workers depending upon the situation, and include both resources that may help prevent unemployment (Short-Time Compensation) as well programs and resources to support individuals as they transition to new employment, including TAA and Pell Grants.
(d) The delivery of other necessary services and resources including workshops and classes, use of worker transition centers, and job fairs, to support reemployment efforts for affected workers;
As we know, Rapid Response may include much more than provision of information on UI and opportunities for retraining; indeed, we have discussed how the primary purpose of Rapid Response is to ensure rapid reemployment of individuals impacted by layoffs. To help achieve this goal, Rapid Response may also deliver important workshops for affected workers, and where appropriate, organize worker transition centers onsite at the affected company or at a convenient nearby location, host job fairs with companies that may be interested in hiring the affected workers, and carry out other activities, which we describe in the regulation as “other necessary services” that are focused on the goal of rapid reemployment. We know that there are likely many additional activities that may be helpful in reaching that goal, and that they vary from layoff to layoff, so this paragraph of the regulation provides some examples but is not intended to be an exhaustive listing of allowable activities.
(e) Partnership with the Local Board(s) and chief elected official(s) to ensure a coordinated response to the dislocation event and, as needed, obtain access to State or local economic development assistance. Such coordinated response may include the development of an application for a national dislocated worker grant as provided under 20 CFR part 687;
As we often discuss, Rapid Response is made more valuable and responsive when it is operated in partnership with critical stakeholders. This paragraph discusses the requirement that Rapid Response, even when operated at the state level, is carried out in coordination and partnership with any local boards that may be impacted by a particular layoff, as well as any elected officials in these communities. While we do not mandate what that coordination must consist of or look like, we believe it is imperative that Rapid Response activities take advantage of local knowledge, expertise, and leadership to best ensure the best possible outcomes for impacted workers, businesses and communities.
This paragraph additionally refers to the role of Rapid Response in developing a National Dislocated Worker Grant (DWG) application. Rapid Response is central to the DWG application process, being primarily responsible for the gathering of demographic data upon which to base a grant application, and gauging interest among affected workers in accessing training opportunities to determine the size and scope of the funding request.
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Next Up: §682.330(f)-(k)