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Want answers and ideas as to what communities across the country have done, and plan to do, to better understand the unemployed segment of their talent pool and connect them to jobs? Then, we've got a story along with a PowerPoint to tell and show you!

...About a year and half ago, DOL began to brainstorm some technical assistance efforts to reconnect Unemployment Insurance (UI) claimants to reemployment opportunities. One question that came up was how are regions tapping the unemployed worker segment of their talent pool? This generated more questions like -- are they being connected to growth occupations? Are regions doing skills based matching and analysis? What jobs are growing and how do we connect the unemployed to these opportunities on the other side of the economic downturn? We thought regions would know the demand occupations and would have done the homework to understand the skill-sets of other segments of the talent pool -- possibly incumbent workers and youth. Still we were uncertain...what about the unemployed workers? Had regions mapped out the skills of the unemployed workers? Had the regions analyzed how these skills transferred to current employment opportunities in the region? Had the regions identified skill gaps with businesses experiencing labor shortages...or were poised to experience a labor shortage on the other side of the economic downturn? The result of a study conducted as part of the Reemployment technical assistance effort has been added to the Reemployment Community of Practice. We encourage you to check out this Webinar recording and PowerPoint and look forward to feedback.

My name is Shannon Gutheil and I was asked to highlight the experiences I have had working with trade-affected individuals first-hand and how the HCTC Program has helped them. 

Over the last 6 years working with trade-affected workers there have been many challenges they face and health care is one of the biggest.

The HCTC program and benefit has been able to help alleviate some of the stress that comes with layoff. When people find out about HCTC I see the light go on in their eyes and a smile emerge on their face. They sometimes can’t believe what they are being offered. The details and process are sometimes hard for them to grasp, but once they understand what steps they need to take to access HCTC benefits you hear a sigh of relief. For many workers, continuation of health care is an option they grapple with over and over because of bottom line costs. They are trying to answer the questions “How am I going to keep health care with COBRA costs being so high? How am I going to take care of my family if they get sick without insurance?” These are questions I hear at my desk almost daily when working with trade-affected workers. A great percentage of workers we serve on the front lines are the sole carriers of health insurance for their families and when they loose their jobs this compounds their stress levels, which in turn can increase their risk for getting sick – thus meaning they need to keep their health care coverage even more. Knowing they have HCTC available to them, as long as they meet all criteria, can help relieve this burden and help them focus on re-tooling their skills and/or gaining new employment.  

When trade-affected workers utilize and are eligible for HCTC benefits, it is truly a great benefit to have available.

Shannon Gutheil, TAA Counselor at the Ft. Collins Workforce Center, Colorado

My name is Carol Harr and I serve as Rapid Response liaison for the TAA Program in Colorado.

Many times, I am the first person employers and employees have contact with concerning the TAA Program and its benefits.  The HCTC program is one of those benefits.

The HCTC program is always one where a lot of interest is shown.  Employees facing a layoff have many concerns, and healthcare is a major one. 

When employees hear that they may be eligible to have 80% of their insurance premiums covered, their relief is actually felt in the room.

The HCTC brochure is an important piece of literature for them.  This gives the employees something physical to take away with them and has the information they need to access the program.

A representative from the HCTC team in Washington, DC spoke at our annual state TAA conference.  This gave our TAA counselors good information on the program, and the opportunity to ask questions and discuss concerns.

The HCTC team is always striving to find ways to dispense information about the program and address any concerns as they arise.

Carol Harr

Colorado TAA Coordinator’s Office