MADISON – Governor Jim Doyle announced today steps his Administration is taking to respond to the recent news that General Motors will eliminate its second shift of workers at its assembly plant in Janesville, resulting in the indefinite layoff of more than 750 workers in July.
“This is very disappointing news for Janesville, the hardworking families who will be affected, and the entire State of Wisconsin,” Governor Doyle said. “While we are working hard to protect basic values, continue vital services, and maintain our financial integrity, we understand Wisconsin is not immune from the rising gas prices and economic downturn facing our nation. These are good jobs that are important to this community and our entire state. I have directed my Administration to pursue all opportunities to assist the families who are now in transition and to work with local officials and business leaders to bring renewed economic development to the community.”
Governor Doyle announced that his administration will do the following:
· Form and dispatch a Rapid Response Team to meet with the approximately 756 affected employees to expedite unemployment claims and give workers access to job training and placement services. Governor Doyle’s Department of Workforce Development (DWD) has contacted the company and the union to set up an initial Rapid Response meeting immediately to discuss available services and to schedule worker orientation meetings as soon as possible.
· DWD will issue a $25,000 Rapid Response start-up grant at the request of the Southwest Wisconsin Workforce Development Board to initiate services for the affected workers.
· DWD will also work with the company and the union to petition for Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) benefits from the U.S. Department of Labor, which may allow for the extension of unemployment benefits for two years and up to $15,000 for additional education and re-training for eligible workers.
· Explore other avenues of assistance and determine the needs of the affected GM workers in meeting with company and union officials in the weeks ahead. DWD will explore requesting additional funding from the U.S. Department of Labor to assist these workers through the National Emergency Grant (NEG) program, which provides funding to states when significant events create a sudden need for assistance.
Governor Doyle encourages all affected workers to contact their local Job Center to inquire about services by visiting www.wisconsinjobcenter.org/directory or toll free at 888-258-9966.