The Department of Commerce will award grants for demonstration projects providing Rapid Response services to businesses and workers impacted or at risk of being impacted by company closures or layoffs. The goal of this program is to help businesses avoid layoffs where possible and help unemployed workers re-enter the workforce. Applications for the Program Year 2014 funds will be accepted through January 30, 2015. Grantees will facilitate or provide skill upgrade training to WIOA eligible dislocated workers or incumbent workers at risk of dislocation as a layoff aversion strategy. The State of Illinois considers a layoff averted when:
- A worker's job is saved with an existing employer that is at risk of downsizing or closing; or
- A worker at risk of dislocation transitions to a different job with the same employer or to a new job with a different employer and experiences no, or minimal, unemployment.
By emphasizing the strategy of Incumbent Worker training for At-Risk workers, the Department of Commerce is seeking training projects for existing employees who are at risk of losing their jobs unless they obtain skill upgrades, or to provide training to unemployed individuals who require employer specific training upon being hired or classroom based skill upgrades to be qualified to be hired.