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Labor Department OKs funds to help displaced N.C. workers

October 4th, 2007 · No Comments

The U.S. Department of Labor has released more than $5.2 million to help North Carolina provide career training, job search and relocation assistance to workers who have lost their jobs for reasons related to trade. The Trade Adjustment Assistance Act program also extends unemployment benefits from 26 weeks up to two years. This latest allocation will bring the state’s entire fiscal 2008 TAA appropriation to more than $22.2 million.

Here in Surry County, some of that money will assist former employees of Gildan Activewear (doing business as Kentucky Derby Hosiery) and Renfro Corp. Gildan closed its Mount Airy operations after opening new manufacturing facilities overseas. Renfro discontinued manufacturing in Mount Airy as it increased its imports of foreign-made socks for U.S. distribution while also facing more competition from low-priced foreign products. A third company, Cross Creek Apparel, also has ceased manufacturing in Mount Airy and its workers may qualify for TAA certification.

The funds for North Carolina and 14 other states were drawn from remaining fiscal year 2007 resources that have been maintained in a reserve account set up in fiscal year 2004. by the U.S. Department of Labor under the TAA program. The 15 states have the highest TAA-related expenditures for trade-impacted workers. No state is scheduled to receive more TAA assistance than North Carolina in fiscal 2008, which began Oct. 1.

“Our commitment to the harder-hit states will ensure that their communities can work with employers and educators to return their dislocated workers quickly to the workforce,” said Assistant Secretary of Labor for Employment and Training Emily Stover DeRocco. “As our nation’s workers strive to succeed in the competitive global economy, it is important that those facing trade-related job loss have access to expanded career opportunities.”

Since 2001, TAA funds have helped displaced workers from Kentucky Derby Hosiery, Cross Creek Apparel, Insteel Industries, Pine State Knitwear, Chatham Borgstena Automotive Textiles and Renfro Hosiery in Mount Airy and from Interface Fabrics and Westpoint Homes Inc. in Elkin.

Tags: Economic development · Workforce

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