Madison (WKOW) -- from WI Governor's Office: Governor Jim Doyle outlined Tuesday services available to workers affected by General Motors' decision to cease operations at its Janesville plant in December, and he encouraged affected workers to take advantage of the many employment and training opportunities the state offers.
"I am committed to providing a full array of employment and training services to all affected workers," Governor Doyle said. "Like the working families in the Janesville area, I am very disappointed by this latest development. I am hopeful that GM will accept the strong, comprehensive package that we offered last month. Even in the face of national economic challenges, we will still continue our efforts with the local union, business, community leaders, and our Congressional Delegation to convince GM to bring a new product line to the Janesville plant. Meanwhile, we will serve these workers and their families, just as we are serving workers affected by GM's earlier decision to slow production."
Governor Doyle's Department of Workforce Development and its regional partner, the Southwest Wisconsin Workforce Development Board, already has a Rapid Response team, one formed in April when GM announced it would eliminate the plant's second shift.
The team is in contact with GM officials and United Auto Workers Local 95 as a first step to arranging orientation sessions.
At the orientation sessions, the team will:
DWD is currently serving nearly 800 workers affected by GM's elimination of the second shift.
DWD provided two special response grants, totaling nearly $243,000, for immediate assistance to workers.
"We worked together with our Congressional Delegation to secure a National Emergency Response Grant of more than $3.8 million, one of the biggest awarded to the state," Governor Doyle said. "We will pursue every opportunity for additional assistance. In addition to services provided by DWD, the Department of Commerce is working to assist the community. I will continue to fight for the General Motors' workers and see that the Janesville community has the resources it needs."
The current NEG grant will fund services not only for GM workers affected by elimination of the second shift, but workers at three suppliers in the region: Lear Corporation, and Logistics Services, Inc., in Janesville, and United Industries, in Beloit.
NEG funding was approved for 785 workers who requested them, but services are not limited to those workers.
Other affected workers at GM and the three supplies can still take advantage of the services.
"While these are challenging times for the workers and their families, we want them to know we have one of the best dislocated worker programs in the country," DWD Secretary Roberta Gassman said. "We will help them get through this and move on to their next best job. If they need training, we will help them get it at one of our excellent technical colleges. We already have a number of affected workers in training at Blackhawk Technical College."
The National Emergency Grant (NEG) program provides funding to states when significant events create a sudden need for assistance.
In awarding the NEG grant, the U.S. Department of Labor said it would make more than $1.6 million available immediate to provide needed services.
Services will include travel payments, child care and other training related expenses.
Workers with skills in demand will be aided in job search activities including workshops on resumes, interviewing and analysis of transferable skills.
Those determined to need skill development to find suitable employment will have a variety of training options to select from.
In addition to funding provided, DWD will work with the company and the union to petition for Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) benefits from the U.S. Department of Labor, which may allow for the extension of unemployment benefits for two years and up to $15,000 for additional education and re-training for eligible workers.