The Louisiana Workforce Commission has been awarded a $2 million National Emergency Grant from the U.S. Department of Labor to assist 450 General Motor assembly plant workers with skills training to increase their marketability in the workforce.
Affected workers from Android Industries LLC, Johnson Controls and Voith Industrial Services Inc., which are three of GM’s suppliers, will also receive assistance.
“We have been working with local economic development partners to promote this pool of skilled workers to both existing and potential new businesses,” Louisiana Workforce Commission Executive Director Curt Eysink said. “This grant will boost the services we provide to these workers. The transition team has met with regional universities and community and technical college system officials to discuss how to meet the training needs of the workers who are interested in new careers.”
Services will be provided in connection with existing workforce development programs operated by the LWC through its network of Business and Career Solutions Centers. Workers will benefit from career counseling, job search assistance, and training and support services.
To help minimize the impact of the plant closure, LWC’s Rapid Response team has provided early intervention worker orientation sessions for employees of GM along with area suppliers and vendors who will be affected. A dedicated on-site Worker Transition Center has been open since March to assist the workers with resumes, job placement assistance, training information, labor market information, entrepreneurship opportunities and community resources.
Based on LWC’s labor market intelligence and a workforce assessment study that was conducted of workers, the agency has identified several high-demand occupations and industries that workers may transition into.
The NEG funding will be available to assist the affected workers until June 2014. The parishes affected by the plant closure and covered under the grant include Caddo Bossier, DeSoto, Ouachita, Webster, Red River, Morehouse, Bienville, Claiborne, Richland, Rapides and Union.
General Motors announced the closure of its assembly plant in September 2011. Shreveport is the only assembly plant that the automaker and United Auto Workers agreed would shut as part of their contract ratified Sept. 28, 2011. A Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act or WARN was issued by GM June 11, identifying the lay-off of 764 General Motors' employees effective Aug. 30, 2012. Additionally, the plant closure will affect 22 suppliers and vendors who will potentially lay off 368 employees.
The LWC helped 239,310 people get jobs in the past year. For more information about LWC’s no-cost services and resources, visit www.laworks.net.
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