Rapid Response - Solutions for Economic Transition

Job Centers Change Focus from UNemployment to REemployment

Job Centers Change Focus from UNemployment to REemployment

Source: CarolinaLive.com  Click Here

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The goal is to put the jobless back to work in South Carolina. To help reach that goal, the state's unemployment centers will change their focus to become reemployment centers.

This week, professional staff from the state's One Stop workforce centers, plus their employees, elected officials and others are in Myrtle Beach for a training session, to learn how to improve workforce development in South Carolina.

Their focus is on helping put the jobless back to work in a hurry.

"Our goal is to reengage them very, very quickly," said Dr. Peggy Torrey, of the South Carolina Dept. of Employment and Workforce.

Torrey says the problem is, there's often a mismatch between the jobs that are available and the skills people have.

So Workforce Centers will start separating the unemployed into four categories, based on their level of education, to help them get the skills they need.

"If they don't have a GED or high school diploma, we get them that very quickly. If they have skills that have become outdated, we get them into some occupational skill training. If they are close to an associates degree, we can actually pay for an associates degree," Torrey said.

But that takes money and these are tight times for state agencies. Torrey says it looks like the workforce development budget will be OK this year.

"For the work that's going on here, the federal government has seen a need to keep a level funding or even increase the funding a bit to help with re-employment efforts."

Last year, the department took a 9-percent across-the-board cut in funding. Torrey says so far this year, funding looks stable.

Entrepreneurship: The New Buzz in Rural Economic Development

Entrepreneurship: The New Buzz in Rural Economic Development
Over the past several years the demand and interest in being an entrepreneur and business ownership in the United States and especially our region has been exploding. Everyone has what I term the “entrepreneurial buzz.”

By: Beth Pridday, Prairie Business Magazine

Source:Click Here

The small business owner and the wanna-be-business owner (aka entrepreneur) want to use their skills and education to jump start a business idea and are in control of their own future.

Minnesota has 464,946 small businesses, according to the most current federal data available. These small business statistics for Minnesota do not include all self-employed individuals working in Minnesota.

Additionally not only are new entrepreneurs popping up all over our region and state, but the interest in small rural towns getting into the “business” on entrepreneurship is growing. Business incubators, building improvement incentives, micro-loans and a more-user friendly attitude towards small business owners appear to be pervasive. As this trend continues, small business support services such as SCORE, SBDC, SBA, Rural Enterprise Centers and Business & Entrepreneurial Support organizations will become more in demand.

Michael E. Gerber, in the “The E-Myth Revisited” talks about business owners finding their “primary aim” and its importance to the success of an entrepreneurs business. He contends “with no clear picture of how you wish your life to be, how on earth can you begin to live it.”

With that in mind, the communities and cities that want to get into the “entrepreneurial game” will also want to step up and increase their support of entrepreneurial pursuits and economic development at a grassroots level and figure out what their “primary aim” is for their community and long-range economic development plan. This may well be the very thing needed to keep this “buzz” alive!

Shared Talent and Resource Program

VSP’s “STAR” Training Program
The Shared Talent and Resource program maximizes the time of VSP’s workforce.

Source: Click Here

By Margery Weinstein

As a result of the economy and to be fiscally responsible, VSP needed a solution to address reduced resources and its business decision to not increase its budgets.

To meet this challenge, the company created a new program to assist employees in expanding their careers while keeping down company operating costs. The Shared Talent and Resource (STAR) program is a talent pool comprising eligible employees from areas where work volume is temporarily decreased; such employees are available to provide temporary assistance in areas where work volume has increased.

Benefits of “STAR” include:

    * Ability to better maximize resources company-wide
    * Reduction of external agency/contractor costs
    * Assistance to departments needing additional resources
    * Enhancement of employee skills through temporary re-assignments
    * Accommodation for fluctuation in work volume and potentially avoidance of a reduction in force

“We’ve avoided the peak-time costs of hiring temporary workers and maximized the time of our existing workforce,” the company told Training. “The engagement of the employees in the program was high, and they learned new skills, developed new relationships, and expanded their knowledge of the company.”

White House Announces Startup America Partnership to Foster Innovative, High-Growth Firms in United

White House Announces StartUP America Partnership to Foster Innovative, High-Growth Firms in United States

Source:Click Here

Entrepreneur Steve Case to Chair New Alliance; Kauffman Foundation CEO Carl Schramm Named Founding Board Member-- Commitments Secured From Major Corporations to Accelerate Entrepreneurship

KANSAS CITY, MO and WASHINGTON, DC--(Marketwire - January 31, 2011) - Today, as part of President Obama's national strategy to stimulate economic growth and the creation of quality jobs, the White House announced the launch of the StartUP America Partnership. Chaired by Steve Case, co-founder of AOL, CEO of Revolution LLC and chairman of the Case Foundation, the Partnership will receive launch funding from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation and the Case Foundation, and act as an independent private-sector alliance intended to dramatically increase the development, prevalence and success of innovative, high-growth U.S. firms. Carl Schramm, CEO of the Kauffman Foundation, will serve as a founding board member of the effort.

The Startup America Partnership will work closely with the White House to advance the goals of its Startup America initiative. The Partnership will bring together top entrepreneurs, start-up firm funders, CEOs, university presidents, foundations, and other leaders to help entrepreneurial companies start or grow. Partners (including corporations, foundations, startup funders, CEOs and others) will contribute funds to existing proven models or develop new programs and efforts to help entrepreneurs.

"America's story has been forged in large part by entrepreneurs who have against great odds created innovative products and services that have changed the world -- and created millions of jobs," said Steve Case. "Our nation once again looks to these creative risk-takers to unleash the next wave of American innovation, and I am pleased that President Obama has made supporting and celebrating entrepreneurs a major priority of his economic strategy. I am honored to chair the Startup America Partnership, and look forward to working with the White House to champion the creation of new start-ups, and help accelerate the growth of speed-ups."

"We are pleased to help lead this partnership," said Carl Schramm. "At Kauffman, it is our mission to develop and fund programs to support entrepreneurs, and to help educate policymakers about the role entrepreneurship and innovation play in our society. This partnership will bring together partners from across the private, public and non-profit sectors, working together toward a common goal: supporting the entrepreneurs who are the lifeblood of our economy."

To date, more than a dozen firms and organizations have joined the Startup America Partnership. They include the following commitments:

Increased corporate investment and support for startups from companies such as Intel, HP, IBM, Facebook, and others, including:
  •  Intel Capital will commit $200M of new investment in U.S. companies. Senior Intel leadership will also serve the Startup America Partnership and share best practices from years of successful programs designed to support Intel portfolio companies.

  • IBM will invest $150 million in 2011 to fund programs that promote entrepreneurs and new business opportunities in the United States.

  • HP is investing more than $4 million in 2011 in the HP Learning Initiative for Entrepreneurs (HP LIFE), a global program launched in 2007 that uses educational and technology outreach aimed at helping entrepreneurs and small business owners create and grow commercial opportunities.

  •  As part of Facebook's ongoing commitment to encourage entrepreneurs, the company will launch Startup Days, a new series of 12 to 15 events around the country designed to provide entrepreneurs with access to expertise, resources and engineers to help accelerate their businesses.

To foster entrepreneurship through higher education, as part of its overall $50 million commitment to entrepreneurship, The Blackstone Charitable Foundation has announced a $5 million expansion of the Blackstone LaunchPad program piloted at two Detroit colleges. Based on a model created by the University of Miami, LaunchPad will be replicated over the next five years in five other distressed regions around the country.

The Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE), a nonprofit that provides entrepreneurship education for at-risk high school students from low-income communities, is launching new programs supporting young entrepreneurs and their teachers. Ernst & Young LLP will honor NFTE youth entrepreneurs at regional Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year Award? galas across the country, bringing important attention to the next generation of young entrepreneurs. The Pearson Foundation is working with NFTE to build its Digital Teacher Network, a free online community for teacher collaboration and training that will be used not only by NFTE's 5,000 certified teachers but also by any educator interested in entrepreneurship. Google is sponsoring two new efforts in NFTE's Bay Area programs: The Flat Classroom Exchange will allow local educators to team-teach the NFTE program in real time and leverage each teacher's individual expertise, while the Makers Class project will integrate NFTE's curriculum with invention and engineering lessons. New Markets Education Partners is providing NFTE with seed capital to launch in 2011 an interactive, online business planning course and social network connecting mentors, teachers and students.

The Startup America Partnership will continue to marshal private-sector resources to spur entrepreneurship in the U.S. with a focus on three key areas:

  • Acceleration and Scale: Replicate successful community-based entrepreneurship accelerator programs; encourage increase in experienced mentors to support startups and encourage partnerships with large companies to serve as customers or funders of current firms.

  • Education: Identify resources to help expand high-impact entrepreneurship education throughout the country

  • Commercialization: Increase the number of colleges and universities committed to commercialization outcomes, through efforts that include clearing the path to market for primary research, supporting the extension of successful accelerator programs, and spurring regional ecosystem development, faculty engagement, and streamlined technology licensing.

For more information about the Startup America Partnership and to see a full list of partner commitments, visit www.startupamericapartnership.org and follow the Partnership on www.twitter.com/startupamerica and www.facebook.com/startupamerica.

About the Kauffman Foundation
 The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation is a private nonpartisan foundation that works to harness the power of entrepreneurship and innovation to grow economies and improve human welfare. Through its research and other initiatives, the Kauffman Foundation aims to open young people's eyes to the possibility of entrepreneurship, promote entrepreneurship education, raise awareness of entrepreneurship-friendly policies, and find alternative pathways for the commercialization of new knowledge and technologies. For more information, visit www.kauffman.org, follow the Foundation on www.twitter.com/kauffmanfdn and www.facebook.com/kauffmanfdn.

About the Case Foundation
The Case Foundation, created by Steve and Jean Case in 1997, invests in people and ideas that can change the world, with the ultimate goal of making giving back a part of everyday life. The Foundation creates and supports initiatives that that leverage new technologies and entrepreneurial approaches to drive innovation in the social sector and encourage individuals to get involved with the communities and causes they care about. For more information, visit www.CaseFoundation.org, follow us at www.twitter.com/casefoundation and www.facebook.com/casefoundation.

Workforce Investment Board Gets State Grant for Early Warning Network Project

Workforce Investment Board Gets State Grant for Early Warning Network Project

Source: Click Here

The Workforce Investment Board of Stark and Tuscarawas Counties has received a state grant of $250,000 to develop a new initiative that will identify and assist companies at risk of closure or downsizing.

The Early Warning Network grant will fund a business retention program called the Regional Business Network. The network will cover both Stark and Tuscarawas counties and will expand and enhance the retention and expansion efforts under way.  

“Many economic and work force development organizations and programs are currently in place in Stark and Tuscarawas counties and representatives are contacting businesses and offering their assistance to them on a daily basis,” said Alice Stephens, executive director of the Workforce Investment Board/The Employment Source.  “However, working singularly rather than together somewhat limits the scope of outreach and services because of each individual organization’s manpower and resources.  The establishment of a comprehensive and coordinated network of all programs would exponentially increase our two counties’ success rate in retention and expansion efforts.”

A concerted effort consistently focused on layoff aversion will assist with maintaining the work force in both counties.  The Regional Business Network will give employers, network partners, the community and the region the ability to access a comprehensive set of services, programs and organizations through one entry point.

The following chambers of commerce, businesses, economic development, work force, education and community organizations are among groups committed to partner in administering the Regional Business Network:

  • American Electric Power
  • Buckeye Career Center Adult Education
  • Dominion East Ohio
  • Kent State University Stark and Tuscarawas
  • Workforce Directors  & Business Services Reps of Economic Development Regions 9 & 10
  • Small Business Development Centers of  both Kent campuses
  • Stark State College of Technology
  • Tuscarawas County Community Improvement Corporation
  • Tuscarawas County Chamber and its Port Authority
  • Walsh University and the Workforce Investment Board No. 6 — Workforce Initiative Association/ The Employment Source

Fairchild Employees Upset By Layoffs

Employees at Fairchild Semiconductor in Portland, Maine said they were upset with how the company announced that it is laying off 120 workers. One key complaint is that the layoffs were announced before the workers were informed.

Click on the link below to see the story.

Watch Video:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UbWZEJBKS8c


Comment and let us know what you think:
  • What do you do when a WARN notice is not given?

  • What early-warning indicators may have been present?

  • What actions are required in such a situation?

District says furloughs would avert layoffs

LAKE ELSINORE: District says furloughs would avert layoffs
2:27 AM PST on Friday, January 21, 2011

The Press-Enterprise

Source: Click Here

The Lake Elsinore Unified School District won't need to issue layoff notices this year if employees agree to take six furlough days in 2011-12, Assistant Superintendent George Landon told the school board at a meeting Thursday.
The furloughs would be needed only under a "worst-case" budget scenario, Landon said. If voters approve the tax measures the governor is proposing for the June ballot, the furloughs wouldn't be needed, he said.

"I don't know what the voters are going to do in June," he said. "We're going to assume the worst-case scenario."
The district would face a roughly $11 million shortfall next year if the measures fail, Landon said. The district can use reserves of about $5.5 million to cover a portion of the shortfall, and officials expect to save about $1 million more through an early-retirement incentive for employees.

The furloughs would reduce expenditures by about $3.8 million.

District and teachers union officials are scheduled to meet for a negotiating session today, and representatives for both sides said an agreement could be reached before March 15, the date by which school districts must notify teachers if they may not have a job next year.

"We're very optimistic we can reach another satisfactory resolution," Superintendent Frank Passarella said.
Terry Harris, president of the Lake Elsinore Teachers Association, said such an agreement would likely look similar to the two previous years' deals, which included a provision to restore cuts if the budget improved.

"We've been building trust" through those agreements, because the district did restore cuts when money became available, Harris said.

In other business, the school board gave administrators the OK to move forward with creation of a virtual school for students in kindergarten through 12th grade. The district already offers some virtual classes for high school students; the new program would expand offerings to all grades.

Passarella said he expects the virtual school to open by August, in time for the 2011-12 school year.

Such a school could bring additional students, and additional money, to the school district, board President Sue Scott said.

Reach Michelle L. Klampe at 951-375-3740 or mklampe@PE.com

State setting aside $700K to help laid-off A.J. Wright workers

State setting aside $700K to help laid-off A.J. Wright workers
By Will Richmond
Herald News Staff Reporter
Posted Jan 13, 2011 @ 07:57 PM

Source:Click Here

The 815 workers being laid-off following the closure of the A.J. Wright warehouse will now have additional assistance in their job search.

The Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development Thursday announced the state’s Rapid Response committee approved a $700,000 emergency grant to aid the displaced A.J. Wright work force. The funding is being made available immediately.

The funds will be distributed through the Bristol Workforce Investment Board to the local career centers in Fall River and Attleboro. The money will then be used to provide staffing to offer affected workers job counseling and intensive training programs, including English language proficiency classes.

Massachusetts Rapid Response Manager Ken Messina said the grant is being provided, in part, due to the number of employees affected and the need for many of those workers to obtain new skills in order to find work.

“Without this funding we wouldn’t be able to help them,” Messina said.

TJX Companies Inc. announced in December that it was shuttering the A.J. Wright chain, eliminating 4,400 jobs. The closure will shut down two distribution centers, one in Fall River and one in South Bend, Ind., as well as the A.J. Wright corporate operations in Framingham and certain regional offices.

Fall River Career Center Director Joseph Vienna said the money is a welcome aid in the effort to assist the displaced workers. He said the center has been notified the layoffs will occur on Feb. 8.

“A lot of this money will go toward putting people in school to give them the skills, training and resources needed to help this population,” Viana said.

Rapid Response personnel have been on-site at the commerce park warehouse since shortly after the announcement of the planned layoffs. Those resources will then be moved to the career center at 446 North Main Street following the closure, with resources also available at the two other Bristol County career centers in Taunton and Attleboro.

Messina said providing financial assistance for the A.J. Wright workers takes on added importance when considering staff at the Fall River Career Center are already assisting many people without jobs in a city that ranks among the highest in the state in unemployment.

“That definitely matters,” Messina said of Fall River’s unemployment rate. “The career center is busy and needs the assistance, but what really matters is that this plant is closing.”

The Rapid Response assistance could be a precursor for more aid to A.J. Wright employees.

“Our Rapid Response team is unique in its ability to put services on the ground so quickly,” Secretary of Labor and Workforce Development Joanne F. Goldstein said. “The funding will serve as a bridge while a National Emergency grant is developed for this situation.”

E-mail Will Richmond at wrichmond@heraldnews.com.

In a tough economy, new focus on job-oriented certificates

In a tough economy, new focus on job-oriented certificates
Labor economists and some educators believe career-driven
degrees should become an increasingly common choice

By Joanne Jacobs
The Hechinger Report

PALO ALTO, Calif. —

Omid Khofasani wants to be a pharmacist — without taking on huge student loans.

So the 35-year-old is paying about $1,700 for a nine-month course at nearby Foothill College that leads to a pharmacy-technician certificate and a chance to earn a solid middle-class wage of up to $60,000 a year as he works his way through pharmacy school.

"It's short, it's fast and it's cheap," says Khofasani, who earned an engineering degree in Iran but now works at a carpet store.

Labor economists and some educators believe career-driven degrees should become an increasingly common choice and are advising students to pursue skills-oriented fields of study they think offer better job opportunities.

Fueling the trend is the worst economic decline in more than 70 years and a slowly falling U.S. unemployment rate of 9.4 percent. Add to that the staggering total of $830 billion in student debt nationally.

"The recession has brought in clear focus the value of a career versus a job," said Willis Holcombe, chancellor of Florida's fast-growing community-college system.

A new report based on that state's employment data shows that students who earn certificates or associate of science degrees make more money in their first year out of college than four-year graduates of Florida's university system.

The unemployment numbers are "a powerful case for some postsecondary credential, not just going to classes, but completing a credential," Holcombe said. "If you want to insulate yourself against unemployment, you need a career."

The national unemployment rate for four-year college graduates is 4.8 percent, compared with 9.8 percent for those with only a high-school diploma.

President Obama wants the U.S. to lead the world in college degrees by 2020, with all Americans completing at least one year of postsecondary education, seen as the dividing line between living in poverty and a shot at a middle-class lifestyle.

Nationally, 27 percent of people with licenses and certificates earn more than the average bachelor's degree recipient, according to Anthony Carnevale, director of the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce.

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In Wreckage of Lost Jobs, Lost Power

In Wreckage of Lost Jobs, Lost Power

Alone among the world’s economic powers, the United States is suffering through a deep jobs slump that can’t be explained by the rest of the economy’s performance.

The gross domestic product here — the total value of all goods and services — has recovered from the recession better than in Britain, Germany, Japan or Russia. Yet a greatly shrunken group of American workers, working harder and more efficiently, is producing these goods and services.

The unemployment rate is higher in this country than in Britain or Russia and much higher than in Germany or Japan, according to a study of worldwide job markets that Gallup will release on Wednesday. The American jobless rate is also higher than China’s, Gallup found. The European countries with worse unemployment than the United States tend to be those still mired in crisis, like Greece, Ireland and Spain.

Economists are now engaged in a spirited debate, much of it conducted on popular blogs like Marginal Revolution, about the causes of the American jobs slump. Lawrence Katz, a Harvard labor economist, calls the full picture “genuinely puzzling.”

That the financial crisis originated here, and was so severe here, surely plays some role. The United States had a bigger housing bubble than most other countries, leaving a large group of idle construction workers who can’t easily switch industries. Many businesses, meanwhile, are reluctant to commit to hiring workers out of a fear that heavily indebted households won’t spend much in coming years.

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  • What are your insights on this matter?

  • How can the workforce system, and Rapid Response efforts in particular, contribute to the recovery and help get people back to work?

  • Is workshare part of the solution on the short term?