Skip to main content
Labor and Economic Opportunity

Rapid Response


The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) holds States responsible for the provision of Rapid Response (RR) services. Workforce Development (WD) maintains responsibility for ensuring compliance with federal and state requirements, implementation of program initiatives, and providing support, guidance, technical assistance and financial resources to the local service delivery areas. WD WIOA Section is the State's designated recipient of WARNs to fulfill its statutory requirements. However, it is the expectation that WD and Michigan Works Agencies (MWAs), along with other key partners, will act in coordination during all layoffs in a particular region regardless of the size of the event.

Rapid Response is a primary gateway to the workforce system for both dislocated workers and employers and is a component of a demand driven system. The central purpose of Rapid Response is to help laid-off workers quickly transition to new employment. Rapid Response acts as both a provider of direct reemployment services and as a facilitator of additional services and resources.

Rapid Response must take an ongoing, comprehensive approach to planning, identifying, and responding to layoffs, and preventing or minimizing their impacts whenever possible. To ensure high quality and maximum effectiveness, successful Rapid Response strategies include:

  • Informational and Direct Reemployment Services for Workers
  • Convening, Facilitating, and Brokering Connections, Networks, and Partners
  • Solutions for Businesses in Transition; Growth and Decline

Layoff Aversion

Plant closings and mass layoffs can occur for a variety of reasons in periods of both economic expansion and decline. These reasons may include financial difficulty, mergers and acquisitions, loss of market share, consolidations, foreign competition, product or service obsolescence, shift in parent company focus, or other factors. Opportunities may exist to save jobs and avoid resulting hardships imposed on individuals and communities when a plant or business closes.

  • Early response is critical. Adequate Lead Time is Essential
    Over the past 25 years there have been numerous examples of companies that were scheduled to close, but continued operations because of a response initiated by one or more interest groups such as employees, management representatives, government and community groups, and labor organizations. These responses have included management or employee buyouts, sale to other parties, business restructuring and incumbent worker training. In order for RR to work effectively, early intervention is critical. For a layoff aversion effort to succeed there must be sufficient time to organize an effective response.
  • Layoff Aversion Is a Cooperative Effort
    An important initial step in Rapid Response is to assess the reason for the plant closing or mass layoff. If there is an indication that the business closing or mass layoff might be averted, the WDA, in conjunction with the local MWA and other partners can provide technical assistance to interested parties to investigate possible layoff aversion strategies.

Benefits to Business

Providing Rapid Response services to your workers during layoffs or plant closings will result in multiple benefits to you as an employer and will help assure:

  • Higher productivity, better worker morale and lower absenteeism by reducing stress. Lower unemployment insurance costs as workers become re-employed faster when early intervention services are begun prior to the layoff.
  • Decreased likelihood of retaliations, theft, or other work disruptions.
  • Human Resources staff saves time and resources.
  • Formation and utilization of Transition Team Peer Counseling.
  • Media and rumor management control. Rapid Response understands the often confidential nature of layoffs, and will work with the company to ensure confidentiality at all times.
  • Better public relations for an employer. Rapid Response teams can also work with the media to highlight services an employer is providing to its workers during a layoff period, which can assist with maintaining the company's public image.

Fact Sheets

Other Resources

Contact Information

Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity - Workforce Development
201 N. Washington Square
Lansing, Michigan 48913
Phone: 517-335-5858 Fax: 517-241-9846
Jimelle Howard