Dozens of economic and workforce development professionals and others interested in assisting workers, businesses and communities suffering in this weak economy attended a Layoff Aversion and Response Conference on Wednesday to showcase under-utilized layoff aversion and layoff response tools.
“We’ve experienced some of the worst of times these last few years, but we’ve also tested our ability to adapt and respond,” said Jeff Johnson, President of the Washington State Labor Council (WSLC), who opened the conference. “We’ve learned to bend our practices to meet new demands, to leverage scarce resources, to reach out to unlikely partners and to embrace innovative public policy.”
This unique conference, presented by the WSLC in partnership with the Washington State Employment Security Department and State Department of Commerce, was designed to describe tools available to both businesses and workers to “weather the storm,” including:
For business liaisons:
- Matching funds, bridge loans and subsidized services available to support business growth;
- Alternatives to laying people off and losing skilled workers during downturns;
- Resume building, tailored workshops and other outplacement services that are FREE;
- How employers can best support workers during layoffs; and
- Community College grant funds to train the unemployed for industry needs.
For worker liaisons:
- Tools to sustain business and keep workers employed;
- Programs and grants that supplement strained Workforce Investment Act resources;
- New ways to think about foreign competition and the implications for laid off workers; and,
- Community College grant funds to serve the unemployed.
When layoffs due to foreign competition cannot be avoided, there is special assistance available to both laid-off workers and businesses. The WSLC, in cooperation with the Employment Security Department, maintains a website to help workers and businesses affected by foreign competition access the federal Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) program. It provides support to laid off workers and downsizing businesses impacted by jobs leaving the USA or foreign products making it hard to compete. For more information, visit www.TAA-Washington.org or call toll-free at 1-866-TAA-3399.