By Mike Needel, Director of Business Services, Tennessee Department Labor & Workforce Development


After the TAA webinar "Back from Tennessee: Debriefing Their National Trade Convening" on October 30, 2019, the Federal Trade representatives and our team were talking about how some states are resistant to the consolidation of the multiple programs that serve Dislocated Workers. In my mind, the Trade, WARN, Rapid Response, RESEA, and Title I Dislocated Worker Programs are all related and essentially serve the same population group—individuals who have lost their jobs due to no fault of their own.

When I took over as the Director of Business Services, all of these programs were working in a silo with independent budgets and performance measures. After a quick analysis, I realized that they were all related (I call them cousins) to each other based on the commonality of their customers.

If an employer lays off some or all of its workers and files a WARN, the employees would immediately qualify as Dislocated Workers and as such are entitled to one or more services offered at the American Job Center. They most likely attended a Rapid Response event and were informed about services they were eligible for through Title I. Additionally, after the filing and certification of a Trade Petition, they would now be eligible for services through the Trade Program as well. Furthermore, even if they are not eligible for Trade, they could be selected for RESEA through their Unemployment Claims and then receive services through that program instead.

These programs all work together in providing services to a mutual customer. Working together with an individual for a common purpose does not limit your performance outcomes; the programs actually benefit when you co-enroll the participant and braid resources. Everyone wins—especially the person who is searching for employment.

Remember, they are all Dislocated Workers and deserve the best each program has to offer.