This report, based on site visits to 48 One-Stop Career Centers in 23 states conducted from mid-2004 to mid-2006, is part of a longer-term project to conduct a national, net-impact evaluation of the Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) program. The report summarizes findings on the relationship between TAA and Rapid Response, both of which are designed to assist dislocated workers. Under Rapid Response, states must coordinate workforce and other community services when plants close or other workforce dislocations occur. It is usually the first point of contact between the workforce investment system and affected employers and workers. TAA provides training and income maintenance to certain dislocated workers who have suffered job losses because of increased imports or plant re-locations. Its benefits are typically substantially greater than those from other public workforce programs.
States recognize the importance of strong linkages between these programs, and nearly all locate them in the same agency, reflecting a broad national trend to consolidate workforce programs. Seven of these states have established a further basis for coordination by locating TAA staff in the same organizational unit as Rapid Response, typically a Dislocated Worker Unit. As part of all Rapid Response events, Rapid Response staff inquire about potential trade impacts when they first contact employers and unions. If no petition for TAA certification has been filed and there is a chance that trade contributed to the job losses, the Rapid Response team always suggests that the employer or union file a petition or the Rapid Response team files a petition itself. The amount of information provided to workers during Rapid Response varies depending on whether a certification for TAA has occurred or, at least, is deemed likely, in which case much more information about TAA is provided than otherwise. In any case, Rapid Response staff are very focused on connecting workers to the broader array of services available from the One-Stop delivery system, in keeping with the principle that workers should be given prompt access to One-Stop core and intensive services.