State Assisting Workers and Businesses Impacted by Wilkes-Barre Township Tornado

June 18, 2018 - 12:56 pm
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Harrisburg, PA – To help workers and businesses impacted by the severe tornadoes that struck the Wilkes-Barre area of Luzerne County and multiple townships in Bradford County last week, Governor Tom Wolf announced the Department of Labor & Industry (L&I) has activated its Rapid Response Coordination Services.

“The unsettling sight of damaged businesses is a reminder of the workers’ lives this affects and the families their paychecks support,” said Governor Wolf. “Within hours after the storm hit, we began preparing to help the workers and employers to get back on their feet.”

A team of specialists from the department’s Rapid Response Coordination Services (RRCS) is already working with local officials and businesses. They are meeting with the employers and affected workers to provide information about and access to services, including unemployment insurance, health and pension benefits, financial credit counseling, training programs, job search activities, education services, and social service programs, among others.

“Whenever natural disasters create sudden changes in employment, it is a difficult and uncertain time for employees and their families,” said Oleksiak. “Labor & Industry stands ready to help mitigate the hardships and stress displaced workers go through when dealing with an unanticipated loss of income, whether that be from a natural disaster or a mass layoff event.”

RRCS activities are typically triggered by a layoff or closure, but can also be activated in response to job or business loss from natural disasters. The RRCS coordinator contacts the company to schedule a meeting, and outline services available. The coordinator will then provide customized and on-site services, in conjunction with the PA CareerLink® network. When rapid response services are complete, affected employees are referred to PA CareerLink® for post-layoff services.

Services are state and federally funded, and are provided at no additional charge to the employers and employees, regardless of the reason for the layoffs.

The department recently created the Rapid Response Information Guide, which provides a thorough break-down of the program as well as a list of services, resources, and regional contacts for easy referencing. To view the guide, visit Rapid Response Information Guide.

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