Department of Labor awards $2.2 million grant for laid off workers
WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Labor on Tuesday announced a $2,201,214 grant to assist about 500 workers affected by layoffs connected to the Alcoa shutdown.
“This grant will help ensure that the affected workers receive the employment and retraining services necessary for securing jobs in new and emerging local industries,” said Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis.
Awarded to the Texas Workforce Commission, the grant will be disbursed through the Central Texas Workforce board. It will provide dislocated workers from Alcoa and Zachry with access to “wrap-around” and supportive services, such as dependent care and transportation assistance, that are not available through the Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) program, Solis said.
The grant also will provide dislocated workers from Becon Construction and Texas Hydraulics, who are not TAA-eligible, with access to the full array of dislocated worker services, she said.
Local Central Texas Workforce Director Cindy Jerman was glad the funds came through, but said more are sought.
“We are excited about the funds being awarded, but the amount was less than we had asked for,” Jerman said Tuesday. “We are still in negotiations about how the money can be used, but it is for the workers.”
Jerman said the Workforce Commission would set up a press conference to announce further details.
Layoffs at the companies covered by the grant took place between September 2008 and April 2009.
Of the $2.2 million, $1.021,902 will be released initially. Additional funding up to the amount approved will be made available as the state demonstrates a continued need for assistance.
This grant will be funded by resources through the National Emergency Grants, under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.