WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Labor today announced a total of $4,204,401 for two National Emergency Grants to assist approximately 650 workers affected by recent layoffs in Idaho.
"Workers affected by these layoffs will need to be trained in the latest skills in order to be competitive in today's workforce," said U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez. "This funding will provide the resources these workers need to become employed in the region's fastest growing industries and occupations."
The department is making $2,600,475 in grant funding available for 435 workers affected by the closures that took place from August 2013 to April 2014 of the J.R. Simplot Co.'s facilities, which were located in the Idaho cities of Aberdeen, Caldwell, Heyburn and Nampa. Of the total amount awarded, $1,040,190 will be released initially.
Another grant, worth $1,603,926, is being awarded to assist 219 workers affected by the March 31 closure of the Center Partners call center, located in Idaho Falls, Idaho. Of the $1,603,926 available for these workers, $779,050 will be released initially.
The grants, both awarded to the Idaho Department of Labor, will provide these dislocated workers with re-employment services. For the former Center Partners employees, this will include: career guidance, case management, job search assistance, on-the-job training and other skills training opportunities. The workers affected by the J.R. Simplot Co.'s closures will receive similar services; however, they are also eligible for Trade Adjustment Assistance benefits, so the TAA program will cover the costs of their training. Because only a portion of the total amount approved for each of the grants is being awarded today, additional funding, up to the total approved amount, will be made available as the state 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.