Now let’s take some time to talk about those activities that are required to be carried out with Rapid Response funds, per section 682.330. We developed this section of the regulation from three sources: activities that were previously only discussed in guidance and through technical assistance; elements that were required under WIA, and elements that were previously allowable, but which are now required.
Because this section is so long we’ll break it up into pieces. First up: The layoff aversion requirement!
Here is the language from the regulation:
"Rapid Response must include:
(a) Layoff aversion activities as described in §682.320, as applicable."
The first and most obvious change from WIA relates to layoff aversion. WIOA now specifically identifies layoff aversion activities as required Rapid Response activity. The question you may be asking is “why did ETA make layoff aversion a required activity?”
Our experience under WIA demonstrated clearly that layoff aversion activities are critical to successful Rapid Response. To meet the needs of affected workers and businesses, Rapid Response must be proactive, data-driven, engaged with businesses, and focused on preventing layoffs or minimizing their negative impacts. While most layoff aversion activities were allowable under WIA, we determined that making them required would ensure that aversion was a central focus of all Rapid Response activity.
There are two parts of this requirement that we want to point out here. First, we say layoff aversion activities "as described in §682.320…." We do not expect that §682.320 includes an exhaustive list of allowable layoff aversion activities; it is included in the regulation as a set of examples but there are likely other activities that may be allowable and this regulation does not prohibit Rapid Response teams from engaging in those activities.
Second, “…as applicable.” We do not intend to require any specific activities with respect to layoff aversion. Instead, §682.330(a) requires that states and local areas have the capability to conduct layoff aversion; however, it is left to the discretion of the operators of Rapid Response programs to determine which strategies and activities are applicable in a given situation, based upon specific needs, policies, and procedures within the state and operating areas.
Thoughts, questions, issues? Let us know in the Comments section below!
Next up: §682.330(b)-(e).