Grant will give more workers chance at help

Published 12:00 am Thursday, February 17, 2000

Local Workforce Development Resource Center administrators asked state and U.

Thursday, February 17, 2000

Local Workforce Development Resource Center administrators asked state and U.S. labor officials Wednesday to amend a $6 million retraining grant so more former Cabletron workers will be eligible for financial assistance.

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The amendment changes family income guidelines of those eligible for the grant.

Currently, an individual is eligible if his or her income is less than $9,060 per year; a family of two is eligible if their income is less than $14,840; and a family of four is eligible if its members’ income is below $25,150.

If the grant amendment is approved, a Cabletron employee would have to be in full-time training by Monday and have a family income level less than $18,120 for a family of one, $29,680 for a family of two and $50,300 for a family of four.

"The reason we are doing this is before it was 100 percent of the lower living standard, and changing it to 200 percent will make a lot more people eligible," said Jewel Hackworth, Ironton-Lawrence County Community Action Organization assistant administrator for job training.

Ms. Hackworth is helping employment services officials and resource center staff coordinate the $6 million U.S. Department of Labor grant.

The grant, which is aimed at easing tensions among dislocated Logan Goodyear plant workers and Cabletron employees, was approved in January.

About $3 million is available immediately and will be spread equally among workers – 100 in the Lawrence County area and 450 in the Hocking County area, officials said at the grant’s announcement.

The money can be used for school tuition, retraining fees, commuting assistance, childcare and needs-related payments.

The needs payments, or maintenance money, provide financial help in paying necessary household bills when a worker is laid off or unemployed by a plant closing.

Although 100 workers were being retrained at the time of the grant’s approval, the grant’s income guidelines only allowed about 60 people to access the financial needs assistance, Ms. Hackworth said.

"This change in the income guideline would make many more eligible, hopefully 30 to 50 more," she said.

State officials and the Department of Labor should make a decision soon on the amendment, Ms. Hackworth said.

"We’re waiting on approval and the chances are pretty good," she said. "It may not happen, you never know. But the chances of getting needs-related payments was probably a million to one and we got that."

To be eligible, even under new income guidelines, an employee still must be enrolled in full-time training by Monday.

For more information, or to get enrolled, call 532-3140.