In a concerted effort to help Dislocated Workers rejoin the U.S. workforce, the Department of Labor (DOL) announced a $58 million infusion of state grant money. It is aimed at expanding training that will aid qualifying workers earn industry-recognized credentials.
Dislocated Workers are those defined by the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) as: “individuals who have been laid off or terminated, have received official notice of termination or layoff, and are eligible for or have exhausted Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits.”
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported in a news release that 6.1 million workers had been dislocated from their jobs between January 2009 and December 2011*. The number rose sharply when long- and short-tenured (less than 3 years) workers were combined (to 12.9 million).
The newest DOL grants “will support on-the-job training, customized training, registered apprenticeships and other approaches that connect individuals with employers, with a focus on providing these services to those in long spells of unemployment.”
These discretionary funds are to be provided as a one-time grant through the Dislocated Worker Training National Emergency Grants (NEG), emphasizing training efforts for unemployed workers out of the workforce for 27 weeks or more as well as those whose Unemployment Insurance benefits are set to expire.
Acting Secretary of Labor Seth D. Harris had this to say about the initiative: “These federal funds will strengthen the capacity of the states’ workforce investment systems to deliver critical work-based learning and training to thousands of unemployed Americans.”
Thirty states applied for the funding, meeting the guideline criteria. Of those recipients, Texas was awarded $4,428,052 (the highest amount) and South Dakota, at $418,000, was given the smallest state grant.
NEG Programs are an integral part of aiding this unemployed group regain employment and KRA Corporation’s own successful WIA-funded Adult/Dislocated Worker programs, that are being implemented across the country, have been instrumental in this helping the plight of dislocated workers.
KRA Corporation welcomes the DOL’s efforts to strengthen the national economy by reinvesting in the long-term unemployed. In furnishing these funds, the DOL confirms its recognition of the negative economic impact that layoffs (presumed to be temporary) and terminations (permanent) have on the dislocated worker, his/her family, and the community.
The KRA team believes that this targeted effort will be extremely helpful in supporting a sector of the unemployed population who have the ability but lack only the opportunity—and whose predicament was beyond their control—to re-enter the workforce.