Our national economy is recovering at a steady pace from the so-called Great Recession that ended in 2009. The recession was the most severe, and one of the longest-persisting economic downturns, since the Great Depression. Employment fell by 6.3 percent during that period, and although the economy has added an average of 191,000 jobs per month since then, many workers are still not as secure or well off as they were before the recession hit.
A study conducted by the McKinsey Global Institute notes: “Technology and globalization have created a more dynamic and fast-paced business environment, but the way economies connect most individuals with work has been slow to respond. A significant proportion of workers feel overqualified or disengaged in their current roles… [That leaves] millions of people coping with unemployment, underemployment, stagnant wages, and discouragement.”
Back in 2015, and in response to these dynamics in America’s labor markets, we facilitated a workgroup at the request of the Department of Labor’s Office of Unemployment Insurance (OUI). Consisting of state workforce system leaders, representatives from the National Association of State Workforce Agencies (NASWA) and national and regional Employment and Training Administration (ETA) staff, the workgroup was challenged to re-envision UI claimant’s work search requirements and best practice strategies for job search success for any job seeker in the 21st century labor market.
Based on that workgroup’s recommendations, Maher produced a “Pathway to Reemployment Framework” (PRF) for ETA. The Framework provides state policymakers and other stakeholders an alternative approach to UI work search policies, and a set of promising practices, behavioral insights, and tools related to general job search strategies that states may elect to adopt. State leaders can find a State Implementation Guide (here).
A powerful component is the My Reemployment Plan (MRP) toolkit. Launched in November 2016, the MRP provides a pathway back to work for unemployed individuals, including help with self-assessment, setting goals, committing to realistic and effective action steps, learning to overcome setbacks in a job search, and finding resources to help job seekers achieve their career objectives. It also provides regular prompts that help UI claimants keep on track with regular job search activity and documentation.
But the MRP is useful for ANY job seekers (not just UI claimants). Unemployment doesn’t tell the whole story of the current labor market. Although the national unemployment rate for June 2017 was 4.5 percent, the BLS U6 rate, which includes marginally attached workers and those employed part-time for economic reasons, was 8.9 percent. Maher realizes that this large population of underemployed individuals needs help as much as their unemployed peers. For every job seeker served through American Job Centers, there are many more who access services online - after finishing a shift, while caring for family, or between working a couple of part-time jobs.
Local Job Centers can review and implement the MRP toolset both as an online resource for self-service customers, and as training for Center staff. The Reference Guide for Workforce Professionals will help your staff understand how to support effective work search activities, improve the customer experience, shorten job hunt time frames and potential UI claim durations, and achieve better reemployment outcomes; and a new series of explainer videos introduces key MRP concepts through narrated animations. Local Centers are invited to leverage these tools and add them to websites for customers.
Maher & Maher is proud of the work we did in support of ETA’s Office of Unemployment Insurance (OUI) and the 2015 National Workgroup. Most importantly, we want to enable wider awareness of these new tools and techniques and invite workforce professionals to explore and use the Framework and My Reemployment Plan (MRP) to help job seekers find family-sustaining careers.
Maher & Maher is a specialized change management and talent development consulting firm based in New Jersey and Washington, D.C. The firm is U.S. Department of Labor’s national technical assistance provider supporting the Employment and Training Administration’s implementation of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) and a number of other priority initiatives of the administration that advance and promote the public workforce system. Maher is also currently involved in a number of sector strategy, regional planning, organizational strategic planning and training initiatives in multiple state and regional areas. For more information about our services, visit our website or call us at 1-888-90-Maher.