Rapid Response - Solutions for Economic Transition
Jan 07

Post-Summit: A New Year for Rapid Response

First I want to wish all of the members of the Rapid Response Community a Happy New Year.  I hope that your holidays were safe, happy, and healthy.

For those of you who attended the Road to Recovery 2010 ReEmployment Summit, I hope you found it valuable, particularly those sessions focused on Rapid Response… including the 1/2-day Rapid Response Community Session on December 16.  I hope you will use the comment feature on this blog to provide any feedback on things you liked, things you thought could be improved, or any other issues or concerns you would like to raise.

For those of you who were unable to attend due to weather or travel funds or other reasons, this blog post is intended to provide a brief overview of some of the things that I thought were the most important take-aways.  For those who were there this may be a bit of a refresher for you—but if you have other things that you want to raise, again: please provide them in the comment section of the blog.

Dec 08

Putting More Jobs in the Hands of American Jobseekers

The National Labor Exchange (NLX)

By Pam Gerassimides
National Labor Exchange
Director and Associate
Executive Director

Persistent structural unemployment and continuing layoffs -- workforce development professionals are well aware of the grim reality and challenges facing American jobseekers today. 

Consistently, media and press ruefully remind us that “there are NO jobs out there for anyone.”  This of course is a literary exaggeration. There are always available jobs in an economy such as ours.   The Bureau of Labor Statistics in its most recent Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) report says approximately 3.4 million job opportunities were available on the last business day of October 2010.  A more accurate description or our predicament is to say: “today our supply of jobseekers exceeds our available demand for work.” 

Not as catchy for news articles, but it points to one of our system’s primary missions -- namely facilitating the national labor exchange by capturing all job opportunities and making them available to the millions of our customers who are unemployed, underemployed or looking for work.   

Dec 08

STONE SOUP BLOG: Moving from Personal Relationships to System-wide Partnerships

ByRob Gamble

On Tuesday December 14th, at 2:30 p.m. Stone Soup will make its’ first live appearance at the 2010 National Reemployment Summit in Arlington, VA. The session will focus, as always, on the critical role partnerships play in building state-of-the-art Rapid Response capacity. 

As budgets tighten and demand grows the relevance of the Stone Soup folktale (Click Here to read the tale) only seems to increase. In its most straightforward form the story is about making something out of nothing.  A slightly more nuanced reading describes how nothing more than idea can be transformed in to something through a cooperatative effort-through a partnership.  In the session I’ll tell the story of the partnerships that have helped WIBs and One-Stop across the country meet the demands of an economy in transition and expand services to their communities.

I’m also hoping the session will allow me to talk with you about issues that are on my mind.  Right now I’m wrestling with how to move partnership beyond the individuals that formed them.  How do we institutionalizing partnership without losing their vitality or their spirit? Another area that we all need to think about is how we demonstrate the hard value of engaged partnerships.  What’s the value proposition of partnerships; and more importantly, what’s the ROI in brokering partnerships? Additionally, I am always interested in hearing about what you are doing. We ALL learn by sharing success stories and promising practices.

I’m looking forward to meeting as many of you as can attend and being part of a session rich in stories and insightful digressions. 

Dec 07

Customer-Centric Models for Rapid Response

By Celina Shands Gradijan
Full Capacity Marketing, Inc.

In our last blog, we provided an online evaluation to help you determine how well your Rapid Response (RR) teams are integrated as part of business services in your local workforce investment area.  One of the questions that scored the lowest (41.7%) asked if RR teams utilize a standard set of probing questions to uncover the needs of a business prospect during an initial meeting. This is important for several reasons:

  1. It allows everyone associated with business services to standardize a consultative sales process.
  2. The answers to these probing questions can be aggregated frequently to provide real-time market research on customers’ needs.
  3. It’s a roadmap to match the most appropriate solution with a business’ most pressing needs.

Uncovering a business’ critical needs and finding an immediate solution is the first-step in building credibility and trust. This may or may not be a downsizing situation, or an immediate match for RR services—it doesn’t matter. The goal of an integrated business services delivery system is to bring together all service providers that work collaboratively in the best interest of the business (customer-centric model) versus the requirements of the funding stream (funding-based model).

Dec 03

December: A Very Busy Month!

December: A Very Busy Month!
By Crystal Antiri
US Department of Labor
Employment and Training Administration
Division of Worker Dislocation & Special Response

It’s December already!  Looking at my calendar, this is going to be an even busier month than usual. In addition to getting ready for the holidays, we, at the Department of Labor, have been working hard at spreading word on the value of Rapid Response.  Last spring, we went around the country talking to state and local Rapid Responders about a new vision of Rapid Response.  Three things we all agreed on are that Rapid Response should be consistent, timely and high-quality.  Beginning the week of December 13th, Rapid Responders from around the country will be convening in Crystal City, Virginia.  I am looking forward to a week of total immersion into Rapid Response. 

What to I’m looking forward to:

Tuesday, December 14 & Wednesday, December 15, 2010
ReEmployment Summit – The schedule includes 17 sessions related to Rapid Response.  Being new to Rapid Response, there are three that I am really looking forward to:
  • Rapid Response 201: the New 101,
  • Harnessing the Strategic Value of Rapid Response:  It’s Much more than you think!
  • The Psychology of a Layoff

Thursday, December 16, 2010
Rapid Response Community 1/2-Day Session – When you need us most, we are there!  Rapid Responders across the country are working hard to fulfill this promise we make to the public and the nation’s employers.  This half day session will feature a discussion about the Rapid Response process and vision and an interactive conversation with an employer.

Rapid Response Workgroup Meeting –The Workgroup has been a great source of tools and ideas on furthering the value of Rapid Response.  Our commitment to ensuring consistent, timely and high-quality Rapid Response is directly tied to the work of the workgroup.  I am so looking forward to us beginning to create new and innovative tools and resources for the Rapid Response community.  The best part is its all being created by the people who know Rapid Response the best - the Rapid Response community.

Dec 02

2010 National Summit - Road to Recovery: Strategies for ReEmloyment

2010 National Summit - Road to Recovery: Strategies for ReEmloyment

Program/Session Guide:Click Here

Nov 24

Reducing Unemployment with Work-Sharing

Reducing Unemployment with Work-Sharing
Written by Nicole Woo   
Friday, 20 August 2010 17:28

With today's news that jobless claims are up, Dean Baker points out  that "employers are already hiring more than 4 million workers a month. The problem is that roughly 4 million workers a month are also leaving their jobs, half voluntarily and half involuntarily."

So while it's important to reduce jobless claims, the unemployment rate would also be lowered by working on the other side of the jobs equation -- by preventing some of the 2 million layoffs that happening every month.

This is where the idea of work-sharing comes in.  As the NY Times noted in a recent article on Germany's quick rebound from the recession,"A vast expansion of a program paying to keep workers employed, rather than dealing with them once they lost their jobs, was the most direct step taken in the heat of the crisis,"

Read More:Click Here

Nov 19

2010 ReEmployment Summit: Register and Book Your Hotel Today

Road to Recovery: Strategies for ReEmployment
2010 National  Summit   -   December 14 & 15, 2010   -   Arlington, VA

CLICK HERE TO REGISTERand to visit the Summit website - includes registration, schedule of events, agenda and session descriptions.

This summit offers you the opportunity to share successful practices, build upon your skills, and advance the national discussion about the design and delivery of effective reemployment solutions for workers and businesses.

LEARN, SHARE IDEAS and COLLABORATE with colleagues and workforce system subject matter experts. You will gain enhanced insight and access to the resources you need to meet the needs of unemployed workers and businesses in your communities. This timely summit offers a captivating blend of workshops, group discussions, action clinics and networking opportunities all geared toward helping you plan and prepare for the important job at hand: Getting America back to work.

We look forward to seeing you at the summit! But, please do not forget to book your hotel. Guaranteed government per diem rates are only available until Monday, November 29, 2010.

Hyatt Regency Crystal City
2799 Jefferson Davis Highway,
Arlington, Virginia, USA 22202
Phone: 703-418-1234

  • Book Hotel Online:  Click Here
  • Book Hotel by Phone:  888-421-1442
A block of rooms have been set aside at the Hyatt Regency Crystal City.

$181.00/night; single or double occupancy
  • Rooms are subject to sales tax of 10.25%. Each additional person in the room is subject to a $30 charge per person.

  • To guarantee the government per diem rate, please make hotel reservations by Monday, November 29, 2010. After this date, the room rate is not guaranteed.

  • While there is no registration fee for attending the ROAD TO RECOVERY: Strategies for ReEmployment Conference, each attendee will be responsible for paying for his/her travel costs including hotel room and meals.
  • Metro Accessible

  • The hotel is located within walking distance to the Crystal City Metro Stop (Yellow or Blue line).

Road to Recovery: Strategies for ReEmployment is sponsored by:
US Department of Labor

Employment and Training Administration

Nov 09

GUEST BLOG: The Relevancy of Rapid Response: From Reactive to Proactive

The Relevancy of Rapid Response: From Reactive to Proactive 
Celina Shands Gradijan– President/CEO
Full Capacity Marketing, Inc.


Take the Two Minute Rapid Response Integration Audit at http://bit.ly/aoCDY3.
to see how your organization ranks in aligning with the strategies discussed in this blog. 

Rapid Response (RR) services and layoff aversion strategies should play a vital role in helping to position the workforce investment system with both employers and economic development.  However, these services [or any other workforce system services] are not relevant if they are not fully integrated into a comprehensive business model. Building the relevancy of RR services and positioning its value among business, industry and key community stakeholders requires the break-down of silos in how we a) think about service delivery; b) talk about service delivery; and c) integrate service delivery. The workforce system has a myriad of partners that are driven by unique funding streams, services and limitations which are often too cumbersome for businesses to tap.

The RR coordinators that we work with across the country are often puzzled by why businesses don’t “trust the system” and proactively reach out to enlist their support.  The truth is that businesses don’t want to deal with multiple systems and contacts; they want a single set of solutions during all business cycles (expansion and downturns) and a single point of contact.

In looking at all of the stakeholders in the workforce system that may contact businesses (job developers, case managers, Rapid Response coordinators, workforce investment board staff), it’s no wonder why there is communication overload.  Additionally, each of these partners may contact a business with an expected set of outcomes (i.e. I need you to place a job order; I need you to tell us about your downsizing strategies; I need you to place my intern).  The proposition needs to be completely reversed in which all system stakeholders are first uncovering the needs of the business customer and then matching the appropriate solution.

The National Civic Review underscores this point in its spring 2008 report, Involving the Public in Measuring and Reporting Local Government Performance.  The report shares findings of some 47 government organizations that engaged citizens in developing performance measurements and reporting. Modeled after private sector customer-centric models, the report reveals a number of differences in how the public judges local government performance and how local governments tend to measure and report about their performance.  One of the key findings was that people do not care about which agency or level of government is responsible for what and expect services to be coordinated even if they are delivered by different agencies, governmental bodies, and contractors hired by government. 

Successful workforce systems that build long-term trust with business and industry align their services around the needs of the market first. Uncovering a business’ critical needs and finding an immediate solution is the first-step in building credibility and trust. This may or may not be a downsizing situation or an immediate match for RR services—it doesn’t matter. The goal of an integrated business services delivery system is to bring together all service providers that work collaboratively in the best interest of the business (customer-centric model) versus the requirements for the funding stream (funding-based model).

There are key steps in building this integrated system to ensure that all partners and staff can function in a consultative role that is valued as an extension of a business’ human resource team. Build the relationship and partnership, and the perceived value is sure to come next.

15 Business Services Integration Principles
  1. Convene a meeting with all workforce system stakeholders, staff and partners that engage businesses on any level (i.e. via job postings, rapid response services, partnership development, etc).

  2. Examine current labor market data to evaluate trends in vulnerable industries and identity those in expansion mode.

  3. Conducted regional market research to determine business' top workforce issues and priorities.

  4. Match system solutions with the needs of business, as well as new services that may be required based on market demands.

  5. Identify the system stakeholder and/or any outside entity/individual/company that can provide the solution, and cross-train all stakeholders to ensure that they are equipped to articulate solutions based on customer needs.

  6. Package these products and services based on primary categories of interest to your customers (recruitment, layoff, hiring).

  7. Create a single package to present to businesses that details the collaborative list of products and services.

  8. Examine how each team member contacts businesses (i.e. cold call, warm leads) and the tool that is utilized to track conversations and prospects (excel spread sheet, database management tool, Internet sales tool).

  9. Review the overlap and duplication in communications and establish a single tool for tracking contacts among the group; this can be as sophisticated as an Internet-based software package or as simple as an excel spread sheet updated regularly and shared on Google Docs.

  10. Establish a territory management plan to provide businesses with a single point of contact and to avoid communication duplication.

  11. Create a consultative sales process in which all team members utilize a standard set of probing questions to uncover the needs of the business prospect during an initial meeting; evaluate this data monthly during regular team meetings to adjust service strategies.

  12. Develop a single scorecard that represents the interests of each of the funding streams present at the table, and includes broad-based metrics such as business customer satisfaction.

  13. Monitor and track the scorecard and make adjustments in service delivery as needed.

  14. Convert successes into stories for publication in print materials and all partner Websites.

  15. Share successes with the Workforce Investment Board and engage them in referrals to the system.

In our next blog, we’ll share examples of these customer-centric models that integrate RR fully as part of serving business and industry. How well does your organization adhere to these 15 principles? To frame our next discussion, take the Two Minute Rapid Response Integration Audit to see how your organization ranks with these alignment strategies. 

Take the audit at http://bit.ly/aoCDY3.

Nov 04

TAKE THE SURVEY, and Help Direct the Workforce Development Research Agenda

 and Help Direct the Workforce Development Research Agenda

The John J. Heldrich Center for Workforce Development at Rutgers University is conducting a project with support from U.S. DOL ETA to identify gaps in employment and training research and to make recommendations for future research priorities. In doing so, the Center has committed to undertaking an open, transparent, and consultative process, including seeking input from a broad range of stakeholders -- practitioners, policymakers, researchers, and others -- through a brief online survey. Given the tremendous challenges facing the workforce development system, it is essential that federal, state, and local policymakers and practitioners have access to timely and credible research about the programs and practices that are most effective and efficient in helping American workers prepare for and obtain employment.