Rapid Response Services

Our team helps workers who have lost a job through no fault of their own transition into new employment. Established by the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), the Dislocated Worker – Rapid Response Program, encompasses strategies and activities for partner entities to respond as quickly as possible following an announcement of permanent closure, mass layoff, or natural or other disasters that result in a mass job loss.

For over 20 years, the Missouri AFL-CIO has been a state partner to connect dislocated workers to the resources and assistance they need to re-enter the job market quickly following a closure or layoff. The team at the Missouri Works Initiative will now take on this important work.

As part of these efforts, our team offers two programs, Surviving Layoff Workshops (Employment Transition Team Services) and Peer Counseling (Transition Team Training).   

This program provides supportive services to workers who are experiencing layoffs. Dislocated workers are workers who lose their job through no fault of their own and will be provided services free of charge through the state of Missouri’s network of job centers.

Workshop leaders will provide a survival guide to laid-off workers that will offer an overview of the resources and tools available to navigate the challenges of job loss. Topics addressed during the layoff workshop generally include: 
  • Applying for unemployment
  • Navigating health insurance options
  • Accessing Trade Act Program benefits
  • Making smart financial decisions following a job loss

Program coordinators present information on the following topics:

  • Taking charge of personal finances by creating a financial action plan
  • Looking for a new job and establishing a job search action plan
  • Managing stress by understanding it is okay to discuss the situation with family and access state resources as needed
  • Contacting your union and the AFL-CIO community to learn about helpful resources that may be available
  • Visiting Missouri Job Centers for full-service job search assistance
  • Starting your own business with help from the Small Business Administration 
  • Making a plan to review retirement benefits with help from the Social Security Administration

Peer Counseling – Transition Team Training

Transition team training is an extensive 1 to 2-day training provided to a small group of designated employees who will then serve as peer counselors for the rest of the workforce. Ideally, the transition team training consists of a small number of employees approved by both the union and the company. The workers are trained by program coordinators to serve as a resource for the other soon-to-be dislocated workers.

During the one or two-day training session, program coordinators provide information about the resources available to dislocated workers. Transition team members develop the skills necessary so they are able to refer the dislocated worker to a specific contact person when questions and or problems arise. Once the team is trained, they serve as a readily accessible resource to fellow co-workers impacted by the upcoming layoff. The transition team remains in place throughout the layoff process. Peer counseling works because it is built on already established trust that comes from sharing a common work reality.

These programs are designed to reduce stress in the workplace, help employees cope with the loss of a job, and decrease the duration of unemployment. We will provide the mental and emotional support needed for workers to manage the challenges of a job loss.

Amy Phillips

MWI Dislocated Worker Program

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Additional Helpful Resources:


Missouri Job Centers

The state’s network of job centers, a proud partner of the American Job Center Network, will provide resume assistance, interviewing skills, career counseling, and job search assistance. As a dislocated worker, you will be able to attend skill enhancement workshops and apply for training through local colleges, including technical schools, at no cost to you. 

For more information and to find a job center near you, please visit jobs.mo.gov/ or call 1-888-728-JOBS (5627) and it will ring at your nearest Job Center.

Missouri Department of Labor – Division of Employment Security

One of the more frequently accessed resources for unemployed workers is unemployment.  

For more information and to determine whether you qualify for unemployment benefits, please visit labor.mo.gov/DES. To file for unemployment, visit uinteract.labor.mo.gov. Applicants will also be required to register at jobs.mo.gov upon filing for unemployment. 

Video tutorial to file for unemployment via UInteract.

Items you will need to file an unemployment claim:

  • Social Security Number
  • Total earnings for the week
  • Name, address, and dates of past employment
  • Banking information, including routing and account numbers
Missouri Department of Social Services

The state of Missouri offers a variety of benefits and protections to individuals and families in need of additional support.

For more information about available benefits, please visit dss.mo.gov/.

Health Insurance Options

If you have lost your health insurance as the result of a layoff, there are options available to protect access to adequate coverage.

Continuation of Health Coverage (COBRA) – To learn more, visit dol.gov/general/topic/health-plans/cobra.

Other group health coverage – If group coverage is available (for example, through a spouse’s employment-based plan), special enrollment in that plan should be considered. 

Subsidized coverage – A good starting point is to visit HealthCare.gov to learn more about comprehensive health coverage that may be available to you.

Medicaid – To find out whether you qualify for Medicaid, visit myDSS.mo.gov or call 1-855-FSD-INFO (1-855-373-4636) to speak with a customer service representative.

United Way

For a referral to community social service resources, call 2-1-1 and you will be connected to a trained resource specialist 24/7. You can also visit 211.org for more information.