DWD gets $615,000 grant to help laid-off Milwaukee workers

The state is getting a $615,000 federal grant to help the Milwaukee workers laid off at Wells Fargo and Assurant Health.

The two companies last year reported the highest number of mass layoffs to the state’s Department of Workforce Development. Layoffs last year nearly hit 10,000 and were at the highest levels since the recession.

New York-based Assurant Inc. said it was shutting down its health insurance division, Assurant Health, by the end of 2016. That amounted to 1,200 layoffs in Assurant Health’s Milwaukee headquarters.

Wells Fargo, meanwhile, said it was closing a Milwaukee office and laying off 839 people because the improving economy meant it had fewer customers needing help addressing delinquencies.

The U.S. Department of Labor this week announced the National Dislocated Worker grant to DWD. It will help around 240 people, though DWD spokesman John Dipko said the agency will monitor participation and could apply for more money if needed.

Leading the effort to help train and place workers in new jobs will be Employ Milwaukee, which was previously the Milwaukee Area Workforce Investment Board.

Workers who were laid off can contact Employ Milwaukee’s HIRE Center to see if they’re eligible to get help.

See the HIRE center website

See a WisBusiness.com story on last year’s layoffs increase

— By Polo Rocha,