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State of Alaska > DOLWD > Alaska Job Center Network > Rapid Response


Information for Business


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.

The Rapid Response program offers many resources that can assist your company, regardless of where your company is in the business cycle. 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. The Rapid Response team 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.

Employer benefits of early notification
Providing Rapid Response services to your workers during layoffs or closures 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. Make sure to contact the Rapid Response team 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

The decision to lay off employees is one no employer wants to make. However, as layoffs do occur, inviting the Rapid Response team 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 provides immediate and on-site contact with the employer and employee representatives to assess worker needs and assist in the development of a transition plan.

Worker informational meetings
Rapid Response can coordinate worker informational meetings designed to educate workers facing layoffs about programs and services that are available to help them transition into new employment as smoothly as possible.

Worker informational meetings are generally held on-site prior to the layoff or off site after the layoff. A standard informational meeting includes detailed information on:

• Unemployment Insurance
• Employment Services
• Job Training Opportunities
• Employment Counseling/Career exploration
• Trade Adjustment Assistance (if applicable)

By providing information on these programs, workers are educated on the benefits and program requirements which allow them to maintain their eligibility for the program benefits. The workers are advised that quitting their jobs will affect their eligibility for unemployment insurance and make them ineligible for training benefits.

Each worker informational meeting is tailored to the specific layoff and ample time is allowed for the workers to ask questions. One on one time with the program experts is also available at the meeting.

Rapid Response can also coordinate specific workshops that are tailored to the workers needs. Workshops include but are not limited to:

• Labor Market Information
• Resume writing
• Job search skills
• Interviewing techniques
• Stress management
• Financial planning
• Insurance and pension planning
• Tax assistance
• Mental health support
• Health insurance planning

Layoff Aversion Strategies
Rapid Response provides assistance with coordinating strategies that may avert or minimize layoffs. Some layoff aversion strategies used by Rapid Response include:

• Prefeasibility studies- These studies are done to determine if it is feasible to save a struggling business and to identify what resources are needed to help. Rapid Response doesn’t actually perform the study but has the resources available to contract with a professional organization to perform the prefeasibility study.
• Exploring employee stock ownership plans (ESOP) is an option. ESOP’s go hand in hand with prefeasibility studies.
• Upgrading current worker skills in order for the worker to maintain their employment in a growing or changing company. This is incumbent worker training.
• Business planning, new product development, market exploration.
• Coordinating with economic development and other partners.

Fostering Partnerships
One of the objectives of Rapid Response is to foster partnerships. Partnerships help communities pull together during economic downturns or dislocation events because they can lead to the allocation of additional resources and information to address business needs and/or worker layoffs. Fostering partnerships allow for a wider array and capacity for services

Some partners that Rapid Response works with include:

• One- stop Job Centers
• Local economic development agencies
• Mental health services
• Outplacement agency’s
• Native organizations
• Health insurance planners
• Financial planners
• Community and faith based organizations
• Educational institutions
• Unions

Labor Management Committee's
Rapid Response can assist in the formation of labor management committees.

A Labor/Management Committee (LMC) is a committee composed of management and workers from a company that is either closing permanently, or is about to lay off a substantial number of workers.

The true value of the committee lies in its composition. Because the membership of the LMC is derived from the workplace, members are familiar with the workers and are in the best position to market their talents effectively. A LMC addressees the needs of dislocated workers at the most critical time- before the layoff or closure. In general, LMC have a higher placement rate for their employees. Other benefits include reducing administrative burdens, maintaining productivity and preserving corporate and union images.

Click here for more information on Labor Management Committees.

Peer Support Programs
Transition teams or peer programs allow the employer and worker needs to be addressed, therefore creating more comprehensive and individualized services.

The goal of a peer support program is to develop a support structure to assist workers who are going through the difficult transition period of rapid change and uncertainty that follows job loss.

Peers serve as a bridge connecting workers to dislocated worker program services though outreach, recruitment, and on-going program follow-up.

Click here for more detailed information about peer support programs.

Sensitive/ Confidential nature of layoffs
Rapid Response recognizes the sensitive nature surrounding layoffs and closures and maintains a strict confidentiality policy. Some layoffs are highly visible and there may be political implications with high visibility layoffs. Going through a layoff is a stressful situation for employers, workers, their families, unions and community members, and Rapid Response recognizes and respects that.

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 the Rapid Response Team.

 

 

 

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Page Updated November 17, 2008