By Laura Lausmann, Trade Adjustment Assistance Liaison, WorkSource Oregon, 

In September of 2019, our TAA program in Oregon joined a pilot with DOL and Mathematica called “TAA Behavioral Interventions Project”. The project goal is to test the language we use in our letters to see if we can speed up employer provision of worker lists, and increase and accelerate worker applications for TAA.

Mathematica looked at what we were currently sending out to both employers and workers and created a friendlier, less governmental driven approach. Throughout 2020, they would let us know for each group of workers certified for Trade if we should send out our standard letters, or if we should mail out the pilot version. It has been a very simple process and we look forward to learning the outcomes when the pilot is completed. Our program in Oregon was number one in the nation in 2020 for the number of new participants in relation to our State’s population. We may be on to something…

Two weeks ago, I was assisting our team with a newly certified worker group and had the opportunity to really stop and read our “standard” communications to both the employer, and the notification letters we mailed to the worker group. Mathematica had let us know we would use ours, and not the pilot versions. At the time, we were sending them I thought to myself, “Do we have to?" In reading ours, I realized that they were heavy on government language and perhaps not meeting the ultimate goal of what we want them to do, get a response.

While we are still in the pilot and gathering data, we have decided that it is too important to leave our existing letters as-is, and will be making them more personal, and less governmental. We will have the time to review policy and law later; we just need them to connect with us as soon as possible. 

If our standard letters sound familiar perhaps it is time to revisit, update, and make those first outreach attempts the best they can be. If you are interested in joining the pilot or to see an example of what we are sending out, contact your Regional Coordinator for more information.

If you have an updated letter and you feel it is working, please share as we are always looking for ways to improve our communication to those we serve.