The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act’s Dislocated Worker Program is intended for workers who lost jobs due to plant closures, company downsizing, or some other significant change in market conditions. In most cases, it must be unlikely that these dislocated workers will return to their previous employment, and they must be eligible for (or have exhausted) unemployment compensation. Other conditions can lead to eligibility, such as being self-employed (but not working as a result of general economic conditions), or being a displaced homemaker. The program tailors employment and training services to meet dislocated workers’ needs; works with workers and firms facing substantial layoffs; and encourages labor, management, and community partnerships with government to address worker dislocation.

Dislocated workers are eligible for services such as comprehensive and specialized skill assessment, development of an Individual Employment Plan, labor market information, and job search and job placement assistance. Additional services are available for eligible dislocated workers who need additional help in getting jobs. The sequence of services is individualized and may include more intensive assessments, career counseling, occupational skills training, Individual Training Accounts, On-the–Job training, and job readiness training conducted with a commitment by an employer or a group of employers to employ an individual upon successful completion of training.

The program goal is to increase employment and employment retention for its participants and to provide employers with a skilled workforce and qualified job applicants.