In an effort to soften the blow to a sector of Idaho's unemployed, the U.S. Department of Labor has earmarked more than $675,000, in the form of a National Emergency Grant, to train dislocated workers. The funds are part of a $50,000,000 distribution to 30 states.
“The grant is specifically targeted for those above 50, veterans, and those who have been out of work for longer than 27 weeks and are about to exhaust their unemployment benefits,” Idaho Department of Labor spokesman Bob Fick told Boise Weekly.
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, Idaho currently experiences an unemployment rate of 6.1% and Fick said the federal grant should help obtain employment and job skills for some of Idaho’s most needy individuals.
“The grant money is enough to train about 100 people,” Fick said. “Those who want to take advantage of the program should talk to a consultant at the labor department to see if they qualify for the program.”
States were encouraged to apply for the National Emergency grant in May after approval from the secretary of labor’s discretionary fund. The effort is part of the federal government's ongoing effort to reduce nationwide worker displacement.
“While economic conditions continue to improve across the country, millions of workers still face barriers in returning to work,” said U.S. Secretary of Labor Seth Harris in Wednesday's announcement. “These federal funds will strengthen the capacity of the states’ workforce investment systems to deliver critical work-based learning and training to thousands of unemployed Americans.”