MMA workers assisted

12 years ago

MMA workers assisted

    CARIBOU — As members of Maine’s Congressional Delegation were pleased to announce, an additional $100,000 in federal funds is now available to help retrain former Maine Military Authority employees through a supplemental National Emergency Grant from the U.S. Department of Labor; these funds are in addition to a nearly $500,000 grant made last year.

    The U.S. Department of Labor originally awarded $463,083, administered by the Northern Maine Development Commission and the Aroostook/Washington Workforce Investment Board, to help employees laid off from the Limestone military vehicle refurbishing facility.

    The Maine Department of Labor and NMDC requested the modification after it became clear the need was greater than first anticipated; the initial plan was for 38 workers to get job training, but now officials say 47 have been or are receiving training — thus the need for additional funds and modification request to the U.S. Department of Labor.

    “More of the dislocated workers are seeking retraining assistance as their unemployment insurance benefits begin to exhaust and are exploring new careers that these funds will be able to assist in their progress,” said Ryan Pelletier, executive director, Aroostook/Washington Workforce Investment Board.

    Nearly 150 of MMA’s once 350-person workforce have been laid off due to a drop off in federal work orders, bringing employment at MMA to about 194 currently, according to company officials.

    “In this tough climate, National Emergency Grants provide vital assistance that help workers get back on their feet,” said Congressman Mike Michaud.

    According to the Department of Labor, National Emergency Grants are provided in response to large, unexpected economic events that lead to significant job losses. The money will help workers train for positions in high-growth industries, including health care, leisure and hospitality, business services and retail trade.

    Ninety percent of the funds go to the Aroostook County Action Program Employment & Training Division to provide the training and NMDC retains 10 percent to administer the program.

    The original grant award was made about four months after the initial request. The modification was granted in only a few weeks.