Government

$1.75M to Fund Training for Idled GM Workers

WASHINGTON, D.C – A $1.75 million grant from the U.S. Department of Labor will help 337 of the 1,686 workers affected by layoffs at the General Motors plant in Lordstown get the employment and training services they need to find new jobs.

U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan, D-13, and Sens. Sherrod Brown and Rob Portman announced Wednesday that the Department of Labor approved a National Dislocated Worker Grant application submitted by the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services. The $1.75 million grant – with an initial award of $875,000 – will provide relief to workers impacted by GM’s layoffs over the last two years. That includes those laid off from the Lordstown plant, as well as from three other auto industry suppliers in northeastern Ohio.

In addition to harming “the economic security of workers at the Lordstown Assembly Complex,” the layoffs by GM affect the broader automotive supply chain, thus affecting the entire region, Ryan said in a release issued Wednesday.

“These cut backs were no fault of the workers, who are the best our nation has to offer. I will continue to fight in Congress to make sure that every single worker at the Lordstown facility is taken care of until they can be hired back, or find work elsewhere,” Ryan said. “I will also keep up the pressure on the Trump administration and GM leadership to take any and all steps necessary to assure the facility has place in our community. My goal is and will remain a fully staffed, robust production facility at GM Lordstown. The economic wellbeing of northeast Ohio depends on it.”

“After Ohio gave millions to this company, GM turned its back on Ohio – all while making record profits and reaping the rewards of the tax bill,” Brown added. “This Department of Labor grant will help the workers who helped build this company access the resources and retraining needed to find new jobs and support their families.”

Portman said the grant is a “positive step” toward helping the displaced workers get the resources and training they need. While he remains “disappointed by GM’s decision to cut another shift at the Lordstown plant,” Portman said he will continue to encourage the company to reinvest in the plant.

“I’ve had the chance to visit that plant and meet with the exceptionally-skilled workers there that produce world-class automobiles. In the coming weeks, I will meet with GM CEO Mary Barra again to encourage the company to reinvest in these workers and this plant,” he Portman said.

Portman plans to meet with Barra on Sept. 25 in Washington.

In August, Portman, Brown and Ryan wrote letters to U.S. Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta in support of the ODJFS’ application for the grant. The suspension of the GM Lordstown plant’s second shift in April came just over a year after it laid off its third shift in November 2016, consisting of some 1,250 workers.

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.