Workers laid off last week from the Holcim cement plant who plan to enroll in a retraining or academic program destined to teach them new skills are now eligible for special benefits, under a recent decision by the federal government.
The benefits include up to US$8250 to pay for a one-year program or US$15,000 for a two-year program and an extension of unemployment insurance while the person in enrolled. The reason for that is “so they have something to live on when they’re going to school,” said MA Wiltse, director of the Columbia-Greene Workforce Investment Office.
In addition, workers 50 or older – who’ve found a new job that pays less than what they earned at Holcim – are eligible for assistance of up to $5 per hour “to try and close the gap.” The funds are limited to $10,000 over two years.
These new benefits – excluding the US$4000 in tuition assistance and other services already offered through Columbia-Greene – were granted to Holcim workers by the US Department of Labor effective June 7.
Employees should be receiving a letter from the New York state Department of Labor notifying them of their eligibility