Are you a Dislocated Worker?

Michelle Smith

Employer Engagement Analyst, South Central Workforce Council

Your employer downsized your division. The plant you worked for your entire life closed, or maybe your skills are no longer in demand. In short, you’ve lost your job through no fault of you own. You could be called a “dislocated worker.”

To be considered “dislocated” by the U.S. Department of Labor, you must meet one of the following scenarios:

  • Laid off, received a notice of layoff, and unlikely to return to your previous position because of a plant closure, a large company layoff, foreign competition, or your skills are no longer in demand.
  • Self-employed but are now unemployed due to the economy or a natural disaster. (For example, a farmer, rancher or a fisherman impacted by a wildfire or flood.)
  • A “displaced homemaker” — someone who has been taking care of their family without pay, is unemployed or working a job that doesn’t support the household. (For example, a stay-at-home parent who depended on the income of another family member and has lost such support.)
  • A military service member who has been discharged/released from service under conditions other than dishonorable.
  • The spouse of an active duty member of the Armed Forces, and due to change in permanent duty station or the service-connected death or disability of the military spouse, there is a significant reduction in your family’s income.
  • The spouse of an active duty member of the Armed Forces, and you are unemployed, underemployed, or having difficulty finding work.

Additional requirements include U.S. citizenship or legally entitled to work in the U.S., receiving or eligible for unemployment benefits, and registered for Selective Service unless you received an exception (men born on or after January 1, 1960).

Dislocated Worker services are funded by the Workforce Innovation and Opportunities Act that was signed into law in 2014 and took effect in 2015. Services are designed to help people get back to work as quickly as possible. If approved as a “dislocated worker,” you will receive help from trained workforce professionals. This includes career planning, resume assistance, job search support, and practice interviewing. Some people may also be eligible for tuition assistance for training, and/or unemployment benefits beyond the usual 26 weeks while retraining for a new career. Dislocated workers can also receive assistance with transportation costs, purchase of work tools, and childcare. 

To find out more about the Dislocated Worker program and other services for job seekers of all ages, visit your local WorkSource office or worksourcewa.com.

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