WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Labor today announced a $1,576,221 National Emergency Grant to assist approximately 250 workers affected by layoffs at five companies in Hampden County.
"Workers in western Massachusetts may have worked for many years with a single employer, and, after these layoffs, they are looking for employment that requires new skills and training," said U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez. "This grant will aid a sizeable group of these individuals by providing a variety of re-employment services that will help them find good jobs."
This grant, awarded to Massachusetts's Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development, will provide assistance to many of these workers in conjunction with the services they will receive as a result of their eligibility for Trade Adjustment Assistance benefits. This grant and the TAA program will be used to provide affected workers with the training and supportive services they need to successfully find employment in their area. The full array of employment-related services allowable under a NEG will be available to those workers not eligible for TAA.
Most of these layoffs occurred in the latter half of 2013 and continued through January 2014. Workers receiving re-employment services through this grant were employed by one of the following companies: Avery Dennison Corp.; Dow Jones & Co. Inc.; Hasbro Inc.; Exelis Inc. and Southworth Co. The Regional Employment Board of Hampden County Inc. will manage the provision of re-employment services, including career counseling; job search assistance; training; and supportive services, such as child care and transportation, to the affected workers.
Of the $1,576,221 announced today, $721,370 will be released initially. Additional funding, up to the amount approved, will be made available as the commonwealth demonstrates a continued need for assistance.
National Emergency Grants are part of the secretary of labor's discretionary fund and are awarded based on a state's ability to meet specific guidelines.