Harrisburg, PA – Governor Tom Wolf and the Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry announced today that the department was awarded a $2 million grant from the U.S. Department of Labor’s (USDOL) National Dislocated Worker Grant. The grant will go towards reemployment assistance for about 1,100 workers impacted by layoffs attributed to the downturn of the coal industry in southwestern Pennsylvania.
L&I will disperse this grant to the Southwest Corner Workforce Development Board (WDB), the Westmoreland Fayette WDB, and the Southern Alleghenies WDB, which will, in turn, disburse the funds to reemployment programs for affected dislocated workers.
“The coal industry is an important part of Pennsylvania’s economy, and when there is a downturn we must assist workers in their effort to gain employment,” said Governor Wolf. “My administration is committed to helping Pennsylvanians who face challenging times. These grants will help workers develop individual employment plans that will help to keep them in the workforce.”
“I am delighted to be announcing L&I’s receipt of this grant, today,” said L&I Secretary Kathy Manderino. “The coal industry employs a lot of hard-working Pennsylvanians, and in this unfortunate case where some of its employees are laid off due to a market slowdown, it is important to the governor, myself, and the entire southwest region that these workers re-attain productive, gainful employment as quickly as possible.
Individual employment plans will be developed for regional dislocated coal workers who fit grant requirements. Depending on the recipient, this plan could include immediate reemployment in a similar position or training for a different, high-quality position. New industries absorbing employees will likely include energy, transportation, and manufacturing.
L&I’s regional Rapid Response Teams will also play a major role in making sure all dislocated workers are aware of the training and reemployment options available to them through this grant.
The USDOL National Emergency Grants (NEGs), which encompasses this National Dislocated Worker Grant, temporarily expand the service capacity of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act and local workforce development boards at the state and local levels by providing funding assistance in response to large, unexpected economic events which cause significant job losses. NEGs generally provide resources to states and local workforce development boards to quickly reemploy laid-off workers by offering training to increase occupational skills.
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