GRADD receives $1.8 million for employment assistance, retraining

Nov. 24—The Green River Area Development District has received almost $1.8 million in federal funds to help people who have lost jobs receive training, job skills education and other resources for new employment.

The U.S. Department of Labor awarded GRADD a $1.798 million National Dislocated Worker grant to help people in the seven-county Green River area.

Michelle Drake, GRADD's director of workforce development, said the funds can assist people who have lost jobs or who have been out of the job market since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The funds could pay tuition for training, for skills education and for support services, including items such as tools and child care, Drake said.

"It's going to be based on an assessment" of what the worker needs, she said. "If they need more training or need to go back to school, we can help them with that."

The region has seen layoffs this year, particularly when Century Aluminum announced it was ceasing operations at its Hawesville plant due to energy costs. More than 600 Century workers had been laid off by the time the plant fully stopped operations in August.

But people who have lost jobs throughout the GRADD region or who have been sidelined since the pandemic are also eligible to receive assistance, Drake said.

"There are plenty of people who are going to meet the qualifications of a dislocated worker," she said.

The funds can also help cover on-the-job expenses employers pay by reimbursing an employer for part of a new worker's salary while the worker completes training, Drake said.

The Kentucky Career Center office in Owensboro has notified laid-off Century Aluminum workers about the grant and is planning other mass recruitment efforts, Drake said.

"We are already fielding phone calls" from people seeking grant assistance, she said.

People interested in receiving job assistance through the program can call 270-359-5028.