WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Labor has awarded POWER Initiative National Dislocated Worker Grant funding of $2 million to the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry to help provide reemployment services required by coal industry workers to prepare for positions in emerging and growing fields.
The department previously announced the availability of up to $20 million in these Dislocated Worker Grants as part of the Partnership for Opportunity and Workforce and Economic Revitalization initiative. The initiative is a coordinated effort among 10 federal agencies that makes integrated investments in communities and workers hurt by changes in the coal economy, where job losses in recent years have continued a decades-long trend.
The funds will serve workers approximately 1,100 dislocated workers affected by layoffs at six coal mining employers, as well as two coal industry suppliers. The project will focus on jobs to support the extraction of shale gas in the area, and to prepare for the possibility of an ethane cracker plant in Beaver County. The region is also focusing on manufacturing jobs to expand opportunities in metals manufacturing using advances made in new materials, digital technology and energy production. Of the $2 million in funding, $1,276,400 will be released initially.
POWER Initiative NDWG awards range from $500,000 to $2 million, and support the planning and implementation of workforce strategies for regions and communities that are negatively impacted by changes in the coal economy. Grants will be awarded on a rolling basis through June 30, 2017.