Hackensack manufacturer approved for retraining program

//September 21, 2009

Hackensack manufacturer approved for retraining program

//September 21, 2009

Federal offering assists workers displaced by foreign competitors.CML Innovative Technologies, a lighting manufacturer in Hackensack, has been approved for Trade Adjustment Assistance, a federal program that retrains and financially assists workers whose jobs are displaced by foreign competition.

A loss of jobs in New Jersey due to a shift in production of lighting components to Costa Rica made CML workers eligible for the program, according to the U.S. Department of Labor, which said workers are eligible for assistance if they were totally or partially separated from the company after Aug. 18, 2008.

The agency said eligible workers will be contacted by the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development and receive instructions on how to apply for individual benefits and services. Those who apply may receive job placement services, training in new occupational skills and “trade readjustment allowances” that provide some income while they’re enrolled in skills training.

Patrick Donovan, employment and training specialist for the state Labor department, said 21 former CML workers are currently eligible for TAA, and others may become eligible. He said his department will contact the company and the employees, “and a field representative will go out and describe the TAA benefits and what must be done to qualify and take advantage of it.”

According to the federal DOL, workers aged 50 and older may elect to receive Reemployment Trade Adjustment Assistance, or RTAA. If the worker obtains new employment at wages less than $55,000 and less than those earned in adversely affected employment, the RTAA program pays 50 percent of the difference between the old wage and the new wage — up to $12,000 — over a two-year period. RTAA participants may also be eligible for retraining.

The agency said the New Jersey workers are among 4,700 in 13 states now eligible to apply for Trade Adjustment Assistance.

“Foreign competition continues to impact America’s workers, regardless of industry or occupation,” said Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis. “These trade-affected workers deserve the support of Trade Adjustment Assistance as they upgrade current skills or seek out new careers in promising regional industries.”

E-mail Beth Fitzgerald at [email protected]