Southeast Virginia Rapid Response Team Hosts Summit at TNCC

Published: November 17, 2010

As layoffs continue to impact the region, Rapid Response teams are working to enhance services they offer businesses and affected employees. On November 15 and 16, Thomas Nelson Community College (TNCC) Workforce Development, as the lead Rapid Response agency for one-fourth of Virginia, hosted a Multi-Regional Rapid Response Summit at the Peninsula Workforce Development Center (PWDC) which is adjacent to TNCC’s Hampton, Virginia campus.

Rapid Response is the function that uses Workforce Investment Act resources to go to worksites during a layoff or closure to assist affected employees, providing information on unemployment insurance and related benefits and community resources for retraining and employment.

The Summit brought together employment and training workforce professionals, Virginia Employment Commission employees, college leaders, policymakers and economic development officials from across southeastern Virginia to explore new directions in rapid response.

Directed by Workforce Development’s Curtis Wray, Southeast Virginia Rapid Response Coordinator, the gathering offered a new vision for coordinated economic-workforce development initiatives to prevent, minimize or respond to layoffs or closings and leverage multiple resources to facilitate retraining, retention or re-employment of workers. Discussions focused on expanding how dislocated workers are served and establishing early warning networks and layoff aversion programs.

“Our goal is to increase communications and cooperation among federal, state and local partners and leverage resources across the regions,” says Wray who recently joined TNCC Workforce Development as the Southeast Virginia Rapid Response Coordinator. In this role, Wray leads the rapid response teams for the regions served by Thomas Nelson Community College, Tidewater Community College, Paul D. Camp Community College, Eastern Shore Community College and Rappahannock Community College. He is based at TNCC at the PWDC. The College is lead operator and fiscal agent for the function.

The Summit featured presentations from state and local officials and round table discussions. Topics on the agenda included:

  • New national policy, direction, strategy and re-engineering in rapid response
  • Proactive layoff aversion and rapid response
  • New resources, tactics, and strategies
  • Improving quality and consistency in rapid response
  • Improving partner collaboration and synergy in rapid response

Companies anticipating layoffs or seeking assistance to avoid layoffs should contact Curtis Wray at 757-825-4064.

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