Note: We will be posting here from time to time about Rapid Response, layoff aversion, and managing transitions within your economy. We want to share some thoughts and ideas, and generate discussion on these topics. So please comment or respond!
The public workforce system is a two-client system. Businesses and workers are both critical customers for the system. And Rapid Response is the hub of this two-client workforce system.
Rapid Response plays an invaluable role in a fully functioning, fully developed workforce system. Flexible and responsive, Rapid Response is at the heart of the promise that the workforce system makes to both the working public and the nation’s employers: When you need us most, we will be there.
Want to be seen as a hero in your community by heading off the storm? Rapid Response is the answer. Rapid Response should be visible, it should be active, and it should be one of the foremost weapons in your arsenal against economic transition. Rapid Response is the business service for trying times. And did we mention there’s money attached to it? With significant flexibility? Money you can use to position your state or WIB as a critical partner to business. Money that permits innovative solutions, making a difference at a time of need.
The regulations on Rapid Response emphasize the value of talent recapture—keeping skilled talent engaged in the regional economy—and talent redeployment—retraining a proven workforce to meet a region’s changing needs. The programmatic options available through Rapid Response allow states and local areas to play an active role in shaping and maintaining a competitive, resilient regional workforce.
There is an opportunity here that is all too often overlooked. Rapid Response need not and should not remain a single, onsite visit to an employer in response to the filing of a WARN notice. If used to its full potential, Rapid Response is an investment within a region, of value to the business community, allowing the workforce development organization to play a greater role in the regional economy and fulfilling the promise of a robust and proactive workforce investment system.
Optimal application of Rapid Response as a transition management service allows the workforce system to remain relevant across the entire business cycle. When Rapid Response is viewed solely as a service to individuals affected by layoffs, much of its inherent value is lost. While working to reduce the affects of a layoff on individuals is a valid and valuable service, the scope is limited and often fails to meet the greater challenges facing the regions economy.
Rapid Response realizes its full potential as a business service, allowing relationships with employers to be maintained and enriched—throughout the business cycle. By building long term relationships with business, and more importantly business leaders, Rapid Response allows the workforce system to play a central role in a region’s economic development efforts. Rapid Response is one of the few government-funded programs whose mission is to serve the needs of employers, workers and communities. The planning and information gathering necessary for effective Rapid Response also establish an awareness of and familiarity with the talent needs of a region. The direct connection between business service and allows the workforce community’s ability to strategically meet the needs of both hiring employer and dislocated worker.
If Rapid Response were not a legislated requirement, the most innovative and effective workforce development organizations would recognize the value and find a way to perform this essential service.
The bottom line? Invest in the potential of Rapid Response and make a greater difference in your community!
Do you have any examples of innovative approaches to Rapid Response to share? Have you provided critical solutions to businesses in transition? Have you received favorable press? Please share in the comments section!