Help your company navigate the downsizing process through training and education

Trainers can make a big impact during downsizing

I ran the Computer Training Center at the University of Arizona for a few years directly after the tech bubble crash of 2000 (while building my own company, MediaManagers.net, LLC). Because the University was state funded and lacked the talent, knowledge, and desire to generate revenue through outreach programs (e.g. competitive evening programs for working adults), they opted to protect tenured faculty and administrators by laying off many at lower levels. My department was one of the few successful revenue-generating and self-sustaining departments at the school (we in the private sector call that “profitable”). We offered high-end computer training courses like Microsoft Certification, Oracle training, Cisco networking, and so on. I received a great deal of students through the local Workforce Investment Act (WIA) office, which offered up to $3,500 per laid off person for retraining. While I had been well aware of this group for years, I was surprised to learn that no one in the U. of A. HR office new about any resources available to people who were laid off – even while they were in the midst of a massive layoff themselves! Imagine – you are responsible for laying off hundreds if not thousands of employees and you are making no effort whatsoever to educate or refer these folks to agencies that can help. Don’t be “that guy” (or gal)! Following are some tip to help your organization through education and training:

  1. Workforce Investment Act and One Stop Centers: Get in touch with the nearest One-Stop center in your area and meet with the top brass. Discuss the issues your company is facing and ask how can the center help your employees. You can find the location of your local One-Stop by contacting America’s Service Locator from the U.S. Department of Labor at www.servicelocator.org, or toll-free by phone at (877) US2-JOBS [877-872-5627]
  2. Research One-Stop Centers: Check out WorkWorld.org for information on One-Stop centers, the Workforce Investment Act in general, partner agencies and service delivery structure, and more.
  3. Reach out to other agencies including local economic development services, chambers of commerce, and other groups that are in the business of helping those in need. If you are out of a job unexpectedly, then you are in need!
  4. Organize workshops and seminars that focus on dealing with change, relaxation techniques, resume writing, and other basic core skills that employees may lack.

People who are about to be laid off need as much or more training to make a successful transition out of the company as those who wish to move up within your company. Help your community and your fellow man by doing all that you can to educate and train this vital population of job/career transitioners.

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