AWI Announces Recovery Act-Expanded Worker Retraining Program (05/18/09)

For Immediate Release 
May 18, 2009  

Contact:
Robby Cunningham (850) 245-7130

 

AWI Announces Recovery Act-Expanded Worker Retraining Program

~Thousands of unemployed Floridians to benefit from Trade Adjustment Assistance~

TALLAHASSEE - Agency for Workforce Innovation Interim Director Cynthia Lorenzo today announced the expansion of the federal Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) program, which helps workers who have lost jobs due to increased foreign competition.  The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 extends the retraining program to workers in the service and fishing industries among others in addition to manufacturing workers previously covered by TAA.    

"The expansion of the federal Trade Adjustment Assistance Program will generate new opportunities for Floridians interested in new jobs and new careers in high-wage, high-demand occupations," said Lorenzo.  "Local communities and businesses will benefit with a more skilled and specialized workforce.  Approved training providers, including Florida's 28 community colleges, will also benefit by receiving additional training reimbursement funds as a result of the program."

TAA provides a variety of benefits and services to eligible workers including job training, income support and job search and relocation allowances. Eligible training includes occupational skills, basic or remedial education and training in literacy or English as a second language to assist in obtaining a new job or career.

Under the expanded program, workers may receive up to 130 weeks of income support if enrolled in full-time training and up to 156 weeks of income support if enrolled in remedial training.  Income support for TAA participants includes both Unemployment Compensation Benefits and additional payments known as Trade Readjustment Allowances (TRA).  TRA payments become available to participants once they exhaust all unemployment compensation to which they are entitled.

The new provisions of TAA also include a larger tax credit for health care expenses.  Under TAA, participants will now be eligible for a tax credit covering 80% of qualifying health insurance premiums.  Once approved for TAA, participants receive customized career counseling at their local One-Stop Career Center based on their individual interests, skills and the needs of the local business community.  Training is available throughout the state, including at Florida's 28 community colleges.  

Eligible workers who file petitions on or after today's date (May 18, 2009) will be eligible for the Recovery Act-expanded provisions of the program, with the exception of the additional tax credit available for health care expenses, which will be available to all participants. 

Workers interested in obtaining more information on the federal Trade Adjustment Assistance program, including an online petition, should go to http://www.doleta.gov/tradeact/.  Additional information and guidance can also be obtained by calling the U.S. Department of Labor Employment and Training Administration Division of Trade Adjustment Assistance at 202-693-3560.

Unemployed workers can also obtain re-employment assistance on-line through http://www.employflorida.com or may visit their local One-Stop Career Center for additional information and services.  A list of One-Stop locations can be found online at http://www.floridajobs.org/onestop/onestopdir/index.htm.

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