MADISON – Governor Jim Doyle announced today additional assistance for nearly 600 dislocated workers affected by the NewPage Corporation’s decision to close its paper mill Kimberly.
“For nearly 100 years, the hardworking families of Kimberly depended on the mill for their livelihood,” Governor Doyle said. “When NewPage cut production, I directed my Administration to pursue all opportunities to assist the families and community. Last month, NewPage chose to close the mill. This is bad news for Kimberly and the entire state, but thanks to swift action, we are able to provide additional help.”
Governor Doyle said the additional federal assistance would provide employment and training services.
“With this additional federal assistance, these workers can receive training to improve their skills, preparing them for new jobs,” Governor Doyle said. “I am pleased we are able to help these workers return to the workforce, so they can support themselves and their families and enjoy all that life in Wisconsin has to offer.”
The services, administered by the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development (DWD), are available through local Job Centers and funded through the federal Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) program. They include retraining and reemployment services tailored to meet the needs of individual workers. Major activities and services for which these workers may qualify for are:
Training for employment in another job or career
Income Support, known as trade readjustment allowances (TRA)
Job Search Allowance to cover expenses seeking employment outside normal commuting areas
Relocation Allowances for approved relocation expenses to relocate to a new area of employment.
“These are services that we and our local partners can provide affected workers to help connect them with employers in search of workers with the right skills,” DWD Secretary Roberta Gassman said.
Services will be available to an estimated 589 workers. A U.S. Department of Labor investigation cited increasing foreign competition in the production of coated woodfree printing paper. As imports increased, NewPage sales declined. All workers who became totally or partially separated from employment on or after July 7, 2007, through August 22, 2010, are eligible to apply for assistance.
Affected workers are also eligible to apply for Alternative Trade Adjustment Assistance (ATAA), which is available to workers aged 50 or older who possess skills that are not easily transferable. Qualifying workers who obtain new employment within 26 weeks of separation can receive a wage subsidy to help bridge the salary gap between their old and new employment. The program was designed to provide assistance to workers for whom the retraining offered under the regular TAA program may not be appropriate.
Individuals interested in receiving reemployment assistance should contact a local Job Center or visit http://dwd.wisconsin.gov/dws/programs/dislocated/default.htm. The nearest Job Center location can be found by calling (888) 258-9966 toll free.