Governor Doyle responds to GM cutbacks

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Gazette staff
Tuesday, April 29, 2008
— Gov. Jim Doyle said Monday he was disappointed to learn of the job losses at the General Motors assembly plant in Janesville and that his administration will take a number of steps to help displaced workers.

Doyle said a rapid response team will meet with terminated GM workers to expedite unemployment claims and give workers access to job training and placement services.

The state’s Department of Workforce Development will issue a $25,000 grant to initiate services for the affected workers, he said.

The department also will work with GM and the union to petition for Trade Adjustment Assistance benefits from the U.S. Department of Labor. If allowed, they would extend unemployment benefits for two years and make up to $15,000 available for additional education and re-training for eligible workers.

“The state runs a very strong dislocated worker program, and although we hate to have to activate these services, we do have a very strong track record in helping individuals who have lost their jobs,” said Department of Workforce Development Secretary Roberta Gassman. “Our own research shows that that people who take advantage of these services do far better than those who don’t.”

If the federal government grants the assistance, the state will be able to meet the needs of the affected workers in terms of providing retraining, relocation funding and any books, tools or equipment they might need to move into another job, Gassman said.

She said the department’s goal is to get the displaced workers into jobs that have similar pay as the ones they lost, “but this is going to be a challenge in this case, just because of the compensation levels that have been involved, but we’re going to work on this as hard as we can.”

Department of Workforce Development spokesman Dick Jones said the department also would help displaced workers at GM suppliers.

“If there is a ripple effect, and other companies have to reduce their workforce, then the same process would follow,” Jones said.

Read more in our special section on the GM cutbacks.

Last updated: 8:43 pm Thursday, December 13, 2012

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