SAN JOSE, Calif., March 19, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- As millions of U.S. workers complete their NCAA tournament brackets in anticipation of the tip-off of March Madness, RiseSmart, the leading provider of next-generation outplacement solutions, is busy collecting the brackets of participants in the second-annual "RiseSmart Challenge" – an alternative "office pool" for laid-off workers. The program serves as a fun way to help unemployed workers take a break from the job search to participate in one of the traditional rites of American office life. Here's the story: WHAT: The RiseSmart Challenge is a March Madness "office pool" open to the thousands of transitioning workers enrolled in the company's flagship outplacement solution, Transition Concierge. Participants can access the RiseSmart Challenge tournament bracket online; top prognosticators will receive special recognition and prizes. WHY: The RiseSmart Challenge gives Transition Concierge participants a chance to have some fun and interact with other transitioning workers by enjoying one of the annual office rites that laid-off employees miss the most. It also presents an opportunity for RiseSmart employees to build a stronger bond with the people they're helping to place in new jobs. THE DATA: Approximately 35 million Americans participate in NCAA basketball tournament office pools, according to an NCAA estimate. While some "experts" bemoan the lost productivity that results from this ritual, RiseSmart encourages companies to embrace March Madness as a means of building interpersonal relationships and increasing morale in the workplace. And laid-off workers can now receive these same benefits through the RiseSmart Challenge. THE RESULTS: The RiseSmart Challenge was a huge hit among RiseSmart's thousands of Transition Concierge program participants last year -- and already has more participants completing brackets than in 2012. Program participants, as well as RiseSmart executives, are available to discuss this unique office pool and its uplifting effect.