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Middlebury workers to receive help for foreign-trade imbalance

MIDDLEBURY-The U.S. Department of Labor has announced that approximately 5,500 workers from companies in 12 states-California, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas and Vermont-are eligible to apply for taxpayer-funded Trade Adjustment Assistance.

Among those certified are workers at Monahan, SFI, LLC, in Middlebury who produced synthetic filaments. The local work was negatively impacted by foreign imports.

All covered employees at the facility who became totally or partially separated from employment on or after Dec. 15, 2008, or who are threatened with separation from Feb. 26, 2010, are eligible to apply for Trade Adjustment Assistance benefits through Feb. 26, 2012.

"Helping workers who are impacted by trade, and ensuring they are better positioned to secure permanent jobs that will bring them family-supporting wages, is an important part of keeping the nation's economic recovery on track," said Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis. "Trade Adjustment Assistance will help these workers access the employment and training services they need to prepare for good jobs in promising industries."

Workers covered by these latest TAA certifications will be contacted by their respective states with instructions on how to apply for individual benefits and services. Those who apply may receive case management and re-employment services, training in new occupational skills and trade readjustment allowances that provide income support for workers enrolled in training. Some workers may also receive job search and relocation allowances, and the Health Coverage Tax Credit.

"Trade Adjustment Assistance is a key part of the Obama Administration's coordinated response to helping workers and families in communities affected by auto industry restructuring and other mass industrial layoffs," said Dr. Ed. Montgomery, executive director of the White House Council on Automotive Communities and Workers. "TAA certification can provide these families with much needed income support, access to health care, job training and other assistance as they transition to new jobs in other sectors of the economy."

While TAA is open to eligible workers of all ages, workers 50 years of age and older may elect to receive Re-employment Trade Adjustment Assistance instead. If a worker obtains new employment at wages less than $55,000 and less than those earned in adversely affected employment, the RTAA program will pay 50 percent of the difference between the old wage and the new wage, up to $12,000 over a two-year period. RTAA participants may also be eligible for retraining and the HCTC.

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