Through the partnership of the AFL-CIO and the United Way, United Community Services is a member of the local Rapid Response Unit. Rapid Response is an early intervention service that assists workers and employers affected by layoffs, plant closures, or natural disasters. It provides access to the Commonwealth’s PA CareerLink system of user-friendly resources and information to help transition workers into reemployment.
Job loss can happen to anyone. If you lose your job through no fault of your own, you’re considered a dislocated worker. While there is a distinct difference between being fired and being laid off (firings remove people, layoffs remove job positions), to the affected worker it may have virtually the same impact. The comfortable, established life of the dislocated worker has been shattered and the future is now uncertain.
Job loss is among the top ten of life’s major stressors, along with death, divorce, and being jailed. It is an emotional event, and everybody takes the news differently. Most people need to move through a grieving process that can include shock and disbelief, anger, mourning, and eventually acceptance and a desire to get on with life in a new direction. It is important for dislocated workers to talk about their loss – with their families and also with those who can help them cope and move forward in finding a new job. While it is traumatic to be severed from a job when it is not your choice, the situation also presents an opportunity to find a new career path that has the potential to be better and more satisfying in many ways than the job that was lost.
The PA Department of Labor and Industry offers help to workers experiencing layoff in the form of early intervention services that assist workers and employers affected by layoffs, plant closures, or natural disasters. A state-facilitated Rapid Response team holds meetings with the workers to provide them with valuable information and help them transition into reemployment. United Community Services is part of the local Rapid Response team, which also includes representatives from the PA Bureau of Workplace Development, PA Office of Unemployment Compensation, PA CareerLink system, and PA Health Access Network. The team provides information and resources to help meet the wide-ranging needs of the dislocated workers as they begin to recreate their lives.
The role of UCS is to provide information and links to community resources that assist workers and their families in developing a plan for rebuilding their future. We provide a packet to each worker that includes information about community agencies, health care and prescription assistance, and financial decision-making. Included in the packet is our Guide to Community Resources, a booklet produced partnership with the United Way of Berks County, that helps workers navigate the community agencies able to provide assistance in various arenas. UCS follows up with workers by phone to offer help in working through the requirements of the government, education, career, and social agencies. Layoffs affect the whole family, and UCS is available to help the family handle the crisis in whatever way we can.
For more information on the role Rapid Response plays in this community contact Micki Reese.