Iowa's Rapid Response
Assisting Iowa's Dislocated Workers
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Rapid Response Services for Businesses

Rapid Response LogoIn our increasingly competitive economy, businesses are constantly expanding, contracting, or face barriers keeping them from sustained growth. Iowa offers many resources that can assist your company, regardless of business cycles. One such resource is called Rapid Response. Rapid Response is designed to take pre-emptive action to manage layoffs more effectively by quickly providing information to companies and workers about comprehensive outplacement services and unemployment insurance. Rapid Response works with businesses to swiftly maximize public and private resources and minimize the disruptions on companies, affected workers, as well as, communities affected with job loss. These services are available without any additional costs to your business or workers.

Rapid Response: Step by Step
1. IWDs State Dislocated Worker Unit receives the WARN notice or is informed of a mass layoff or business closure. Any information obtained at a local level regarding mass layoff or business closure shall be forwarded to the State Dislocated Worker Unit immediately.

2. State staff communicate with the contact person as named in the WARN notice and explain Iowa Workforce Development (IWD) policy. If a WARN notice has not been issued but IWD has been informed of a potential plant closing or layoff event, State staff will contact the company in question. In either situation, the explanation to company officials is an outline of the procedures as follows in three and four.

3. State staff provide a copy of the WARN notice to regional IWD Managers and WIA providers. If a WARN is not issued, all pertinent information is forwarded.

4. State staff contacts the local WIA provider to coordinate the Rapid Response Meeting. The purpose of this meeting is to share information regarding services to the workers.

5. IWDs Rapid Response services include:
  • Organizing the Rapid Response Meetings with company management and labor officials.
  • Chairing the Rapid Response Meetings.
  • Organizing and facilitating the initial Employee Information Meetings.
  • Conducting surveys to determine employee needs.
  • Providing core services from the local IowaWORKS Center partners (programs and providers that co-locate, coordinate and integrate activities and information).
  • Providing on-site informational workshops (e.g., Your Successful Job Search, Job and Career Options, Coping With Change, Budgeting and Finances or other customized employer workshops).
  • Developing short-term skills-upgrading classes based upon needs assessments.
  • Assisting affected employees with individualized barrier assessments and skills deficiencies.
  • Encouragement of all labor exchange activities.
The services IWD provides are based upon the local labor market conditions, an evaluation of worker surveys, the skill levels of the workforce, the general economic condition of the area and the availability of meaningful training and the motivation of the workforce. Rapid Response economic development activities include facilitating communications between the company undergoing layoffs or closing with similar employers that are growing and need skilled workers. These communications can be directed between Human Resource Directors/Managers of the involved companies, or it may be necessary to use IWDs labor exchange system to ensure appropriate referrals for specific careers by the use of individualized counseling and assessment techniques.

Funding may be available from IWD to sponsor local job fairs to accommodate both hiring businesses and dislocated workers. IWD works through partnerships with local economic development groups to identify the skills in demand by area employers and then partners with local One-Stop partners or other educational providers such as community colleges to develop short-term training classes to meet the demands identified by the local hiring community.

An Important Note: Communicating During the Crisis

During the early phases of the plant closing or layoff event, Iowa Workforce Development recognizes that confidentiality is critical. Iowa Workforce Development will not go public with the news until the company allows. We recognize that many companies prefer to be the ones to make the official announcement to the media regarding the closing or layoff and that you may have a communications plan that outlines whether you will hold a press conference, issue a press release, or merely respond to media inquiries.

In all instances, Iowa Workforce Development will work to coordinate efforts with the company about communicating with the media. A joint press conference with the company, city officials, Iowa Workforce Development, and the economic development organization may be the best option. In some cases, a company may provide information to the economic development officials or city government officials and let them be the point of contact with the media. In order to maintain good corporate citizenship, many companies will initiate contact with local government, Iowa Workforce Development, and economic development officials early in the plant closing or layoff process. This allows officials time to prepare a response that may be more balanced and favorable than one given where the official learned of the event from another source. (The Ammerman Experience
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