Somebody knows something about everything. You don't always need to know the answer, just where to find it and who might be able to help you with it. Partner referrals are a necessary tool to serve workers under the TAA Program. The team from Virginia provides their insights on the subject. 

By Virginia Navigator Trade Team

Somebody knows something about everything.  How can I find them and how can they find me? This is the beginning piece of the trade puzzle.

Networking is one of the most important things we can do to find our trade impacted employers and their workers thus starting to work the puzzle of filing a trade petition.  We know about the Trade Act Program --- it is our job, but what do others know about the Trade Act Program? How do we educate the right people about this program and solicit their help to find Trade impacted employers?  We have a Rapid Response Coordinator who schools dislocated workers on how to navigate unemployment by first letting them know that “You don’t know what you don’t know.”  He sees the need for the worker to learn what’s out there to help them through this period of adjustment and find out about what they don’t know.  It is the same with the Trade Program.  We must educate others on the benefits of the program so they can help work the puzzle by identifying potential Trade impacted workers who need services.

Chambers of Commerce, local and state economic development organizations, business services groups, Departments of Social and Human Services agencies, training providers, non-profits and faith based groups all want to help the dislocated worker. In addition to these partners, we have our Workforce Boards with adult, youth and dislocated worker staff, departments for aged and disability services, and housing services.

Job loss impacts families, our communities and the overall economy!

Chambers of Commerce, local and state economic development organizations, business services groups, Departments of Social and Human Services agencies, training providers, non-profits and faith based groups all want to help the dislocated worker. In addition to these partners, we have our Workforce Boards with adult, youth and dislocated worker staff, departments for aged and disability services, and housing services.

WARN notices are often an initial piece in working our puzzle - finding workers soon to be separated from employment.  Through our Rapid Response staff, we can connect with these workers. Where do we go after that?  What about those workers not working for an employer subject to providing notice of upcoming layoffs? Relationships with our job center staff and partners provide excellent sources of information but we have to work the puzzle to see the bigger picture.  There are groups and organizations that vary greatly from region to region that provide assistance to those affected by job loss.

I daresay that any business in any community that is about to lay off workers is of concern to local governing bodies, economic development and the state agencies not to mention other businesses…. 

How can they help?  These are the people to whom we make ourselves known.  Find out about the resources unique to your area.  Educate them about the Trade Act and teach them about what we look to determine possible Trade impact to an employer.  Find your success stories and promote them to any group or individual that will let you share your information. See what other states are doing to promote a knowledge of the Trade Act program.

What’s next?

  • Create referral processes utilizing what you have learned, questions that need to be asked of the employers, workers and needed information to complete the petition.
  • Create a referral form to share with job center staff and other resources you have connected.
  • Post questions on your form that your network partners can ask of those individuals they are working with and provide your contact information.
  • Contact the partner and the employer or worker to explain the petition filing process and then follow up.

Stay connected!  People talk and when someone has a good experience with a program they remember.  Consequently, if the occasion presents itself, they will share that information.  As your network of workers, employers, government agencies, nonprofits and workforce centers expand, you will see networking will be time well spent.  Promoting the program will help you complete the puzzle of writing a quality trade petition.