Getting Dislocated Workers Back to Work

The Department of Labor (DOL) recently announced a $58 million infusion of state grant money in an effort to get Dislocated Workers back into the workforce through expanding training designed to help those that qualify earn industry-recognized credentials.

According to an August, 2012 news release, DOL’s Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that in the 3-year period between January 2009 and December 2011, some 6.1 million workers were dislocated from their jobs.  This figure related to those who had held the job for at least 3 years (long-tenured employee). The number more than doubled (12.9 million) when looking at the combination of long- and short-tenured (less than 3 years) workers.

DOL’s Workforce Investment Act (WIA) defines Dislocated Workers 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.

According to the press release, the 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.”

The grants, a one-time discretionary fund provided through the Dislocated Worker Training National Emergency Grants (NEG), places emphasis on training efforts focused on those unemployed individuals who have been out of the workforce for 27 weeks or more and those whose UI benefits are set to expire.

When speaking about the initiative, acting Secretary of Labor Seth D. Harris said: “While economic conditions continue to improve across the country, millions of workers still face barriers in returning to work. 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.”

Of the 30 states that applied and met the guideline criteria, Texas received the highest amount ($4,428,052) with South Dakota slated for the smallest State grant ($418,000).

KRA Corporation, whose own successful WIA-funded Adult/Dislocated Worker and NEG  Programs across the country have proven critical in helping this unemployed group find employment, feels that this new initiative provides additional impetus in bolstering, developing, and promoting programs that will aid the long-term unemployed to rejoin the workforce.

KRA Corporation welcomes the DOL’s efforts to strengthen the national economy by reinvesting in the long-term unemployed. By providing these grants, the DOL continues to recognize the far-reaching negative economic impact that layoffs ( presumed to be temporary) and terminations (permanent) have on the dislocated worker, his/her family, and the community.

KRA applauds this focused and strategic effort to help a population that had no control over the conditions that precipitated their unemployment, and who traditionally have the ability, but lack only the opportunity, to re-enter the workforce.