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Recently, I had a conversation with a colleague about what differentiates one type of Rapid Response from another.  Are there qualities basic to Rapid Response and what makes response stellar?  In response to the economic challenges facing the U.S. auto industry, others are asking these same questions. 


The scope and magnitude auto dislocations are having across the U.S. is not confined to any one geo-political boundary.  As such, it raises the issue of parity across workforce systems.  Are all dislocated auto workers receiving the same level of Rapid Response?  And, what is the minimum level of response all should expect?  Certainly, displaced auto workers in Michigan, Ohio, Delaware, etc. should expect a consistent level of service regardless of the economic region or workforce system.  However, do stark differences in approaches mean one group is at a disadvantage?  If we take this further, are there a menu of Rapid Response services and activities more likely to mitigate the impact of dislocations and support economic recovery?


So, what does make a Rapid Response truly great?  What, if anything could or should be done above and beyond minimum Rapid Response activities alluded to in the law?  Share your thoughts here, so we can ensure all dislocated workers are given equal chances to reenter the workforce in this challenging global economy.  Let’s generate a list of “must do” activities basic to Rapid Response and begin identifying those services and activities that make it stellar.


Some basic levels of Rapids Response suggested thus far include:


?         Permanent RR teams consisting of the State RR Coordinator; UI Specialist; WP/UI reemployment services; TAA and TRA Specialist; State human service agency representatives;

?         RR lead and team members are designated in each LWIA

?         Employer, labor representatives, and other affected parties are included in the RR structure and planning from the beginning

?         WARN notification and processing system exists

?         Funding mechanism is established that commits specific state and/or local funds to support each RR event

?         State Rapid Response unit has a survey methodology and design that collects, at the first RR session, each worker’s contact information, demographic data, work history, skill sets, educational level, long and short term goals, and training needs


This coming Thursday, June 18th, Region 2 will be having a similar conversation during our monthly peer to peer calls with Rapid Response Coordinators in our states.  Most Regions provide similar forums for Rapid Response Coordinators.  Contact your Regional Office representative for more information about similar opportunities to connect to your peers.

ReemploymentWorks! Forum Report Out:

Last Thursday, May 28th, I attended a very informative session on providing reemployment services to UI claimants.  Marie Moss, Assistant Administrator of Tennessee’s Department of Labor & Workforce Development talked about their Reemployment Services Assessment (RESA), a tool that has updated the worker profiling tool previously used.  Among the things considered are Wage Replacement (the relationship between what you earned every week working and your unemployment benefits).  In some cases, the wider the gap, the more incentive a UI claimant has to find employment and the more likely they will welcome reemployment services referral.  There’s also an enrollment category: how many days does it take the dislocated worker to file a claim?  Some workers don’t want to go through the claim process because they feel they can quickly find work themselves or because they are misinformed about when or how to file their first claim.  Other considerations include whether the claimant has transportation and their tenure in their last job.  It’s interesting that Tennessee found that wage replacement is a better indicator than the workers’ industry to determine their need for reemployment services referral.  40% of claimants in Tennessee file their first claim on line.  The state is able to quickly assess whether the claimant got help using the Web-based filing system.  Knowing this is important to assess whether the claimant is computer-savvy or perhaps in need of computer skills training.  How has your state updated their profiling system and what considerations go into this approach?

Ten ways Twitter will change the way potential clients look at you

 24/7 Wall St. has come up with 10 ways in which Twitter will permanently change business within the next two to three years based on an examination of Twitter's model, the ways in which Twitter is currently being used, and some of the logical extensions of how Twitter will be used in the future.  The article can be found at

The article points out that as Twitter grows in size and acceptance, it will increasingly become a placeTwittering where companies and organizations build brands, do research, send information to customers, conduct e-commerce, and create communities for their users.

The article discusses how having the opportunity to tell customers about attractive sales (such as new job postings listed with a specific One-Stop) and new products (such as a new training program now available) can be done at remarkably low cost while providing for greater geographic accuracy. 

One of the consistent challenges each generation of marketers face is being able to pick the right medium and message to appeal to a particular audience of "buyers".  Substitute the word "workers" for "buyers" and reflect on how this tool can be used in your efforts to increase community outreach while at the same time promoting your organization as smart, hip, and connected.


Editor’s note: This post is from Melinda M. Mulawka, Deputy Director of the New York City Workforce Investment Board. Throughout her tenure with the WIB, Melinda has been responsible for the development and implementation of high priority initiatives such as the NYC Labor Market Information Service and In addition, she has spearheaded efforts to recruit dynamic business members to the Board and enhance communication to the WIB’s many stakeholders, as well as served as the Acting Executive Director throughout 2009.



As the fate of our economy is more uncertain than ever, it is essential that as workforce providers we are able to provide timely and easily digestible labor market information to career advisors and jobseekers, and business developers and employers. Lucky for us there are a multitude of resources available at our fingertips – the trick is making them work for you.


Labor Market Information (LMI) is a useful tool that allows you, as a workforce professional, to speak knowledgeably with jobseekers and employers about sector or industry group and what is happening in your local labor market.  LMI can be used for a range of purposes from identifying the top employers in your area and locating their location for business development purposes, to understanding job trends and occupational requirements to assist jobseekers make skills training decisions or compare their skills will employer needs. 


NYC’s Approach to Labor Market Data:

To help us navigate and synthesize the available sources, New York City created the NYC Labor Market Information Service (NYCLMIS), a joint endeavor of the NYC Workforce Investment Board (WIB) and the Graduate Center of the City University of New York.  The NYCLMIS provides labor market analysis to inform practitioners and policy makers of critical issues affecting NYC’s labor market and economy. 


More specifically, the NYCLMIS has assisted in helping practitioners in the City learn about and understand the variety of resources available to help get people back to work.  Not every local area has a Labor Market Information Service – so here is compilation of some “need to know” information and what it can be used for:


Labor Market terms and definitions:        


Subsector intelligence:  

  • Identify top employers and locate employer sites. Knowing who your key employers are, as well as understanding where they are located will assist you in doing business development.  You can also use this information to understand if employers are clustering in a certain region, and make determinations about supply chains. (Helpful Tools: On the Map: Version 3; How To Find and Download Business Lists)
  • Current workforce facts.  Understanding who is working now, can help you assess the key employment demographics, as well as address gaps between the current workforce and employer demand. (Helpful Tools: Community Economic Development Hot Reports)



  • Identifies promising occupations for jobseekers.   Using tools like O*Net will allow you to gauge jobseekers skills, experience and qualifications against employer needs.  You should also use qualitative information from employers in your area to refine the skills, experience and qualifications to meet your local labor market. (Helpful Tools: O*Net and employer interviews done locally)


  • Identifies entry-, mid- and high-level wages.  This information can be used in a number of ways such as counseling jobseekers entering a new profession or assisting employers in competitively advancing incumbent workers. (BLS Employment Data Sets and visit your State Labor Market Data resources)


Other Easy to Use Resources:

Census Bureau

Community Economic Development Hot Reports

Quarterly Workforce Indicators

On the Map: Version 3

Industry Focus


U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Employment Data Sets


Other Resources:



While the reports produced by the NYC Labor Market Information Service are NYC specific, the “how to” guides for using labor market data tools is something anyone can use. Available on the web are:


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!

Editor’s note: This post is from Melinda M. Mulawka, Deputy Director of the New York City Workforce Investment Board. Throughout her tenure with the WIB, Melinda has been responsible for the development and implementation of high priority initiatives such as the NYC Labor Market Information Service and In addition, she has spearheaded efforts to recruit dynamic business members to the Board and enhance communication to the WIB’s many stakeholders, as well as served as the Acting Executive Director throughout 2009.


In 2008 New York City launched the Workforce1 NYC Transportation Center (“Center”), which is one of the first large-scale sector initiatives in NYC and the nation.  The Center applies a sector-based workforce model to a large career center and was initially funded by Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s Center for Economic Opportunity. 


The goals of the Center are to:

?         Help make companies more competitive by becoming a recognized expert of the workforce needs of transportation companies and providing services to meet those needs. 

?         Connect low-income workers to good jobs with career advancement opportunities within the sector.

?         Catalyze systems change within transportation by working collaboratively with other parties to identify and address barriers that impact employers and low-wage workers. The program focuses on placing the majority of participants in jobs with good wages and benefits.


Using labor market data, the Center chose to focus specifically on four subsectors; Air Transportation, Truck Transportation, Passenger and Ground Transit, and Air Support Transportation.  Within these subsectors, the Center works closely with companies to assess their hiring and training needs and to develop customized solutions to meet those needs.  These services include extensive job preparation and training services, tailored to meet the specific needs of transportation companies for both jobseekers, and incumbent workers employed within the industry.  By doing so, the program creates a pipeline of highly qualified transportation workers that saves companies time and money, improves productivity, and makes businesses in the transportation sector more competitive. For example, many companies have expressed a need for supervisory training to both retain workers and provide advancement opportunities for line staff. The Center has created customized supervisory trainings for two employers with the expressed focus to address an industry need as the workforce is aging out and there is a need to bring and advance new workers within the sector.  The Center has also found that having a deeper engagement with employers has enabled the Center to maintain and exceed performance expectations despite challenging economic times.   By having their “fingers on the pulse” of employer demand, staff has been able to connect those who were recently dislocated from employers in the sector with other like opportunities.  Similarly, the Center also screens new entrants into the sector, assisting jobseekers seamlessly transition into a new field.


Accomplishments and Impact

As of April 2009, the Transportation Center has made at total of 869 placements and promotions.  A total of 664 individuals have been placed in jobs and 75% of those placements are in jobs that pay $10 an hour or more.  The average hourly wage is $13.47 and the median wage is $13.03.  In addition, a total of 205 individuals have received promotions and the 75% of those individuals have received a 10% increase in wages or more.  Two hundred and thirty nine individuals have enrolled in training (primarily for Commercial Drivers Licenses (CDL) or supervisory training).  Additionally, over 80 transportation companies in NYC have been served by the Transportation Center.


Other key successes measured by the Center include the formation of a successful business advisory council (called the Leadership Committee) made up of employers from the industry, training providers, industry associations, and economic development organizations that provide market intelligence and feedback on the strategic direction of the Center. 


Serving as a Model

Historically, due to the intense focus and level of expertise required to be successful, sector initiatives are most appropriate to smaller scale or boutique programs.  The Workforce1 NYC Transportation Center is one of the first sector initiatives in the nation that has been brought to scale.


Why we are successful:

?         NYC has recognized that by understanding the industry dynamics, the specific competitive environment, and workforce needs of employers within the sector the Transportation Center will create lasting changes in the labor market system that are positive for workers and employers. 

?         The design of the model was created with input from national sector leaders including Aspen Institute and the most effective programs in the country helped to provide input and learn from their implementation lessons.  This large scale initiative has been achieved by capitalizing on the close business connections and feedback loop from employers, as well as specialized high-quality hiring and training. 

?         The Leadership Committee that advises the Center, is an integral resource in this process and brings together several stakeholders in the industry to illicit feedback about the Transportation Center activities. 


Other Sector Initiative Resources:

What is a sector initiative? The New York City Example: Workforce1 NYC Transportation Center


National Network of Sector Partners

What Is a Sector Initiative?

Sector Essentials: Using Research to Guide Planning

Sector Essentials: Funding


Public Private Ventures

Sectoral Research



Multiple examples of successful programming


Editor's note: this blog post is from Pam Frugoli (above left), ETA National Office and Amanda Shaffer (above right), ETA Boston Regional Office

A major goal of analyzing transferable skills is to help an individual build a career path by identifying a potential next career move to make from their present job.  With that in mind, take a look at an interesting new tool that displays career paths that real people have followed, developed by mapping the database of resumes posted on the job board  The Monster Career Mapping Tool is currently in a beta version.  Watch the banner that comes up as it contains a short video overview of the tool.  Then you can click on the Get Started button—which takes you to a bubble map of careers.  Note that at the bottom of that map there is a button labeled Tutorial that shows what you can do.  There is also a button up above the banner that says Browse our Showcase career paths which will bring up 7 actual paths—including one from Registered Nurse to Health Educator.  Remember though, this shows the jobs a person went through—it doesn’t necessarily show the education required along the way.  Test it out, then comment and share your experience with the rest of us!

Often in times of economic distress and with hundreds or thousands of people losing their jobs, those of us in workforce and economic development immediately believe the road to recovery is finding existing jobs for people to fill or recruiting new companies into our regions.  When really perhaps the better strategy for long term sustainability is to help individuals to become entrepreneurs and a grow a new company with their developed talents.

Two weeks ago, Springboard Engineering of Newton, Iowa was named the Renew Rural Iowa Entrepreneur of the Month by the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation.  Read the press release here: or listen to the podcast interview of Springboard CEO, Jordan Bruntz here: .  The Sprinboard Engineering story is a great example of how entrepreneurism is at least one piece of the reemployment and recovery puzzle. 

Springboard Engineering was started after several members of the Maytag R&D organization did not want to take Whirlpool up on the offer to move to Benton Harbor and work for the large corporation when it closed the Maytag operations in Newton.  The former Maytag R&D leaders were able to take advantage of the entrepreneur class FastTrac and other entrepreneurial services through the MyEntre.Net program of the University of Northern Iowa which the community launched as a strategic response to the Maytag depature.  Springboard now employees over 40 individuals and is providing engineering services throughout the world from Central Iowa. (

One of the transformational strategies of the Iowa Innovation Gateway regional innovation plan is to create a culture of entrepreneurism in Central Iowa.  We are doing this in many ways including expanding the MyEntre.Net program to all 7 of our counties and by encouraging our students in the region to participate in Business Horizons which is a dynamic weeklong summer program for high schools students to explore life as an entrepreneur.  More information on Business Horizons can be found at:

Throughout the Iowa Innovation Gateway region, companies like Springboard Engineering and programs like Business Horizons are helping us achieve our regional goal of building a culture of entrepreneurialism and putting people to work!!

Editor’s Note: This post is from Ralph Zackheim, Region 6 Federal Project Officer for ETA. It is a report of “takeaways” from a few sessions at the Region 6 Reemployment Forum.

For three of the workshop sessions I attended  on June 10 and 11, a strong and persistent theme emerged – the necessity of strong partnerships with the community colleges in building an effective workforce system. The workshops on Creative Training Strategies, Pell Grants and Green Jobs all included dynamic and thought-provoking presentations by Community College Deans, staff and a Vice Chancellor. A few years ago such partnerships were nowhere near as widespread and profound as those exhibited at the Forum.

Here are some “takeaways” I got from the three sessions: Priscilla Leadon, Dean of Economic Development of the Contra Costa County Community College system, spoke of College professors regularly providing training to One Stop staff and participants within the Career Center itself.   Richard Galope, also a Dean at Foothill/deAnza Community College in Silicon Valley explained how Apprenticeship is part of the districts regular curriculum with direct connections to Unions and employers; In the “Teaching Green” session, Dr. Dan Throgmorton of Skyline College on the San Francisco peninsula noted the extremely tight connections forged by two local WIBs (San Mateo and Alameda Counties), “green” businesses and the community college in the development and refinement of a “green pathway” leading to jobs in which sustainability of energy and resources is the guiding principle.

Blog Post by Michael Wald, U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Public Affairs, Region III, Atlanta Georgia:  I don't know if everyone has seen Secretary Hilda L. Solis's White House blog, concerning Green Jobs, which went up on the site last week. If not, here it is:

As the Secretary of Labor, I believe investing in our nation’s clean energy future will not only secure America’s energy supply and promote economic stability, but also advance all of our communities. Investments in the green economy can revitalize old industries, create new industries and generate new jobs for our workforce. These are jobs that will stay in the United States and cannot be outsourced. They will help pave a pathway out of poverty; strengthen urban and rural communities. Through these jobs we can export products - not paychecks. And these jobs will help rebuild a strong middle class and protect the health of our citizens and planet. In the past several months, I had the opportunity to visit workers who are receiving training and acquiring new skills for green jobs. In places like the Community College of Allegheny County in Pennsylvania and the East Los Angeles Skill Center, underserved adults are being trained for green jobs like the ones the Recovery Act is creating. These jobs range from the manufacturing of advanced batteries and wind turbines to the installation of solar panels and skills to conduct energy audits. The Labor Department officially announced plans to release $500 million from the Recovery Act for grants to prepare workers for careers like these. These funds will help both dislocated and incumbent workers, at-risk youth and underserved communities. $50 million of that money will assist communities affected by auto industry restructuring. The competition for grant money is anticipated to begin in June 2009. Through these grants and the partnerships I have entered into with the Departments of Housing and Urban Development, Energy and Education, we are working to rebuild our economy in a more equitable manner, one that is inclusive of all Americans regardless of socio-economic background or gender. Together we can help individuals enter career pathways leading to economic self-sufficiency. The new foundation green jobs can provide long-term security for the economy as a whole, and bring security to a family to help pay their mortgage, get their children health care, and put food on their table. In these tough economic times, there are those that argue that we can’t afford to focus on the environment. But if we work to create a new clean energy economy, we can both make our planet cleaner, and provide good stable work for all Americans. ****** Como la Secretaria de Trabajo, creo que al invertir en una econom?a basada en la energ?a limpia no solamente aseguramos nuestro futuro en materia de energ?a, sino nuestro progreso econ?mico y, al mismo tiempo, creamos oportunidades para todas nuestras comunidades. Inversiones en una econom?a verde pueden crear nuevas industrias y nuevos trabajos. Estos trabajos no pueden ser exportados. Estos trabajos pueden ayudar a revitalizar nuestras comunidades y a crear oportunidades para personas pobres. Mediante estos trabajos podemos exportar productos y no los salarios de nuestros trabajadores. Estos trabajos pueden crear una clase media m?s grande y proteger la salud de nuestros ciudadanos y nuestro planeta. En los ?ltimos meses, he tenido la oportunidad de visitar trabajadores que est?n recibiendo entrenamiento y se est?n preparando para aprovechar estos nuevos empleos verdes. Ejemplos son el Community College del condado de Allegheny en Pensilvania y el centro de capacitaci?n (Skill Center) en el este de Los ?ngeles, donde adultos est?n siendo entrenados para los trabajos verdes que ser?n creados por la Ley de Recuperaci?n y Reinversi?n. Estos trabajos incluyen la manufactura de bater?as y turbinas de viento, instalaciones de paneles solares, y la auditoria del uso de energ?a. El Departamento de Labor anunci? oficialmente sus planes de hacer p?blicos $500 millones de la Ley de Recuperaci?n y Reinversi?n en forma de becas para preparar a los trabajadores en carreras como estas. Estos fondos ayudar?n a trabajadores que han perdido sus empleos, trabajadores nuevos y trabajadores j?venes. $50 millones ser?n otorgados a trabajadores afectados por la reestructuraci?n de la industria automotriz. El proceso de licitaci?n para recibir este dinero comenzar? en Junio del 2009. Mediante estas becas y los acuerdos establecidos con los Departamentos de Energ?a, Educaci?n, y Vivienda y Desarrollo Urbano, estamos trabajado para crear una econom?a mas equitativa que incluya a todas las personas sin importar su antecedente econ?mico y social o su sexo. Juntos podemos asistir a los trabajadores y ponerlos en camino hacia un futuro m?s prospero. Los empleos verdes pueden sentar una nueva base para nuestra econom?a y darles la seguridad econ?mica a las familias para pagar sus hipotecas, pagar el seguro m?dico de sus hijos y alimentar a sus familias. En estos tiempos de crisis hay individuos que dicen que no podemos invertir en el medio ambiente. Pero si creamos una econom?a basada en la energ?a limpia, podemos limpiar nuestro medioambiente y al mismo tiempo crear nuevos y buenos trabajos para todos

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