(Washington, D.C.) – Today, U.S. Senators Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell announced that the Department of Labor will award a National Emergency Grant (NEG) to the Washington State Employment Security Department for over $1.3 million, to serve approximately 400 workers affected by layoffs at companies engaged in environmental clean-up activities at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Hanford Site.

National Emergency Grants (NEGs) temporarily expand the service capacity of Workforce Investment Act Dislocated Worker training and employment programs at the state and local levels by providing funding assistance in response to large, unexpected economic events which cause significant job losses. NEGs generally provide resources to states and local workforce investment boards to quickly reemploy laid-off workers by offering training to increase occupational skills.

When American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funding ended, contractors and subcontractors at Hanford laid off more than 1,500 workers within a short time period at the end of fiscal year 2011.  These layoffs represent approximately 16 percent of the total estimated Hanford workforce.

In February, Senators Murray and Cantwell wrote a letter of support to Department of Labor Secretary Hilda Solis to express their strong support for NEG funding.  The NEG will provide participants with a continuum of reemployment services including assessment, job search assistance, individual employment plans, counseling, occupational skill development, training, supportive services, and out-of-area job search. 

“I am so pleased to announce this critical grant to help Hanford workers who have been affected by layoffs,” said Senator Patty Murray. “This grant will serve as a safety net for workers and their families during these challenging economic times.”

“I am pleased to announce that Tri-City area workers will have one more tool for securing a job with this National Emergency Grant,” said Senator Maria Cantwell.  “This grant will provide job search assistance and occupational skill development, helping approximately 400 former Hanford employees invest in their education and train for future careers.”

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