HELENA (AP) - The state has received another $3.6 million in federal funds to help hundreds of laid-off lumber and manufacturing workers train for and find new jobs, the administration of Gov. Judy Martz says.
The money is dedicated for an estimated 600 former employees of the Asarco smelter at East Helena; Jore Corp., a tool manufacturer in Ronan; Berg Lumber, Lewistown; Plum Creek Lumber, Columbia Falls, Pablo and Fortine; Owens and Hurst, Eureka; and Pyramid Mountain Lumber, Seeley Lake.
Last month, the state obtained a $3.18 million federal grant to finance retraining and job search assistance programs for 530 workers laid off at Montana Resources mines in Butte and the Columbia Falls Aluminum plant.
Mary Walsh, manager of the dislocated workers program in the state Department of Labor and Industry, said the latest money will be distributed in the next couple of weeks based on the number of laid-off workers in each of nine counties: Missoula, Flathead, Lake, Broadwater, Fergus, Jefferson, Lewis and Clark, Lincoln, and Silver Bow.
The training programs will offer jobless workers a chance for new careers as operating engineers, carpenters, electric power-line installers, refrigeration technicians, hazardous materials workers, nurses, teachers, computer technicians, cooks, bookkeepers, accountants and legal secretaries, officials said.
Those participating in the program can also get help with job searches, placement, relocation help, dependent care and transportation.
Walsh said the occupations for which training will be provided are those where jobs can be found in Montana. "We don't put individuals into occupations where there are no jobs," she said.
The training programs will be provided by the university system, community colleges, colleges of technology and private business. The Montana State AFL-CIO, through its Project Challenge, and state Job Service offices provide case management.
Eligible laid-off workers can contact their local Job Service office or the AFL-CIO for information about the programs.
Walsh said her program for laid-off workers receives about $5 million a year in federal aid, but the major job losses that have occurred over the last year require additional funding.