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What is a Dislocated Worker? — Explained in Great Detail

What is a Dislocated Worker? — Explained in Great Detail

Whether or not you are a native speaker of English, you might be confused when you see a word you are normally familiar with used in a context that doesn’t seem to make sense.

This might be the case if you have ever seen the phrase “dislocated worker.”

If you are familiar with the word “dislocated,” you have probably heard it in relation to an injury. For example, a dislocated shoulder means you have knocked your shoulder out of place.

However, in the world of employment, “dislocated” when paired with “worker” has a different meaning.
 

What is a “dislocated worker”?

The U.S. Department of Labor defines a dislocated worker as someone who is out of work because they were laid off, the economy or a natural disaster ended their self-employment, their military spouse relocated or they are an unemployed or underemployed homemaker who isn’t getting spousal support.
 

“Laid off” and other words for dislocated workers

The primary meaning of a “dislocated worker” is a person who has been laid off although as discussed above, the U.S. Department of Labor has several other definitions.

Besides describing a type of injury, another meaning of “dislocated” is something that is moved from its proper place.

With the exception of being a military spouse, the use of “dislocated worker” does not refer to a person moving to a new location.

However, if you are a dislocated worker, you have been moved out of your usual place, your job. The terminology makes more sense if you think about it this way.

If you used the term “dislocated worker” in everyday conversation, many people would not be familiar with it.

However, in government documents and other official paperwork, the term “dislocated worker” is much more common. The federal government has several programs in place for dislocated workers.

You might also see it used interchangeably with “displaced worker.”

It is an important term to understand and use if it applies to you because there are a number of resources available to you if you become dislocated.
 

Why are people laid off?

“Laid off” is a common term for workers who have been let go from a job through no fault of their own in the United States, but in other English-speaking parts of the world, you might hear different terminology.

For example, in the United Kingdom, it would be more common to hear that a person is “redundant.”

There are a number of reasons that people could be laid off or made redundant and thus become dislocated workers.

The company or branch of the company that you work for might go out of business or close.

The company or organization might eliminate some positions in an effort to save money. Sometimes, an entire industry may go through a difficult time, meaning that many workers in all companies lose their jobs.

Layoffs and redundancies are also common when one company takes over another.

These job losses are not due to a person’s performance at work, but they can still cause both emotional and financial stress.
 

Help for dislocated workers

One reason it is important to distinguish dislocated workers from other people who do not have a job is because there are certain state or federal benefits that may be available to people in this position.

In some states, if you quit a job or are fired from a job, you may still be eligible for unemployment benefits, but in most states, this is not the case.

Many dislocated workers may be eligible for unemployment benefits, which are administered through the state.

The amount you receive is based on what you were paid in your last job, and you need to show that you are looking for work when you receive these benefits. They are also temporary.
 

The WIOA Dislocated Worker Program

In 2014, the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act was created to help both people in search of work and employers.
 
People who have been laid off and additional classes of people out of work that the federal government recognizes as dislocated workers are eligible for the WIOA Dislocated Worker Program.

The aim of the program is to get people back in the workforce quickly. A national network known as American Job Centers provides these services.

 If a factory or another workplace is being shut down, the Rapid Response program can get people on site if necessary and help employees with the transition.

 One problem that workers may face is that they may work in a location or an industry where their skills are being phased out.

The Trade Adjustment Assistant Program helps workers retrain for new jobs, and older workers might be eligible for supplements to their wages if they are making less money.