Laid Off Workers

Laid off from your job? The WorkSmart Network is here to help.

If you’re facing a layoff and need information related to reemployment; are seeking healthcare or Unemployment Insurance (UI) resources; want information on trainings; or need connections to other financial, health and community resources to move forward, turn to us.

Our Community Resources and Healthcare Coverage Resources pages can also help you connect with more local resources to use during your transition to new employment.

Community ResourcesHealthcare Coverage Resources

How We Can Help

We’ve helped thousands of laid off workers in South Central Wisconsin quickly transition to new employment through Rapid Response services. If you or someone you know recently lost their job due to a company closure or downsizing, or if your career was impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and you haven’t found employment since, we can help with services like:

Virtual Rapid Response Session

If you’re interested in learning more about the services and resources that may be available to you, check out our Virtual Rapid Response session. You’ll learn about, UI benefits, Covering Wisconsin, United Way 211, the WorkSmart Network and more.

Job Center of Wisconsin Workshops

These workshops can help you prepare for employment with tips on interviewing, job searching, resumes, onboarding and more.

View Workshops

Why WorkSmart?

Why choose the WorkSmart Network? Local employers explain how WorkSmart can help you succeed, as well as why they value soft skills built in industries like hospitality and retail.

Why WorkSmart? Teel Plastics

Why WorkSmart? Royle Printing

I wanted to let you know that the Laid Off From Retail Program [was] a success for me. I accepted a job today as a Patient Scheduling Specialist with UW Health […] I can’t tell you how fortunate I feel. I needed some kind of push to start my job search. [If it hadn’t been for you] I might still be sitting around thinking ‘I should really do something about getting a job.’

Joe, WIOA Retail Dislocated Worker Grant participant

Unemployment Insurance Benefits

Unemployment Insurance (UI) is an employer-paid insurance program that helps workers who are unemployed through no fault of their own. It provides temporary financial help to qualified individuals while they are looking for other work. UI benefits are not meant to replace your previous wages. Information regarding benefit eligibility is available online. If you have questions regarding UI, visit DWD’s Q&A page.

How to Apply for Wisconsin Unemployment Benefits Online

Job Center of Wisconsin: Job Seeker Registration

How to File a Weekly Claim Online for Wisconsin Unemployment Benefits

How to Create a Username and Password for Wisconsin UI Online Benefits Services

United Way 211 – Help Starts Here

There are services available in the greater community to help you get through these tough times. For many, you have not had to ask for assistance in the past. You have been independent and able to take care of your family’s needs. Please don’t hesitate to reach out.

United Way 211 is a free, confidential information and referral resource available via phone (voice or text) 24/7. It covers the entire state and you reach a “live” resource specialist by simply calling 2-1-1 or texting your zip code to 898-211. The specialist can help you seek possible solutions. The information is also available online.

Getting Help

Call 211 for information on available resources concerning:

  • Food and housing
  • Financial counseling
  • Legal assistance
  • Caring for seniors
  • Alcohol and other drug abuse
  • Employment and education
  • Domestic violence
  • Healthcare including mental health
  • Disability
  • And more
Learn More

Laid Off From Retail?

In August 2019 we hosted a transferable skills workshop and an interview event in partnership with the WorkSmart Network and Wisconsin Job Service to help workers affected by retail closures. Thank you to UW Health and Exact Sciences for sharing information about their organizations and available positions during Interview Insider.

Missed the events? You can still watch jobUP, the transferable skills workshop, to learn how your skills – like customers service, management and multitasking – transfer to other industries like healthcare and IT.

Go To Video


Wisconsin 211 | Dial 2-1-1 to locate information on health and human services available in your community. This includes but is not limited to food and housing/shelter assistance, education information, legal advice, emergency assistance, physical and mental health services, financial assistance, transportation information, and state agency and program information. Wisconsin 211 information and referral services are available 24/7 throughout the year. Information can be provided in over 90 languages.

ACCESS Wisconsin | ACCESS Wisconsin is your online guide to Wisconsin programs for health, nutrition and childcare. The site provides an easy way for people who live in Wisconsin to find out if they might be able to get help buying food, low- or no-cost healthcare, help buying prescription drugs, and more.

COBRA Continued Coverage | COBRA coverage may be available to you if your employer continues to operate and offer a group health plan. COBRA generally applies to employers with 20 or more employees and allows individuals and/or their family to continue the same group health coverage at group rates. Cost for coverage may be higher than what the individual was paying before (and is usually higher than the cost for coverage under special enrollment in a spouse’s plan) but generally the cost is lower than that for private, individual health insurance coverage.

Covering Wisconsin | Do you need help finding or understanding a health insurance plan? Covering Wisconsin has resources and a helpline to call.

Covering Wisconsin – How-To Sheets | Learn about health insurance through Covering Wisconsin’s free-to-download how-to sheets.

Covering Wisconsin: Health Insurance Options | This flyer provides information on health insurance that may be available to you and your family. It is also available in Spanish.

Covering Wisconsin: Understanding Health Insurance Costs | This flyer has information to get you started and help you understand health insurance costs. It is also available in Spanish.

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