The United States Department of Labor is awarding more than $4.5 million of emergency grant money to help retrain close to 900 workers from the Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant.
The money goes towards the Western Kentucky Workforce Investment Board’s Dislocated Worker Retraining program to help workers and their spouses prepare for reemployment.
Board Director Sheila Clark says not all the 1,100 affected workers were able to secure jobs on plant clean-up crews.
"Now that the cleanup jobs are starting to be filled, they're trying to decide 'well, if I still don't have a job, will I get a job? Or do I still need to go to training or find other options?'" said Clark.
Clark says these national emergency grants are awarded when there is a particularly high number of dislocated workers, something that’s unfortunately becoming more common.
“This is not something that you want to have happen," said Clark. "We’re seeing it happen right now in eastern Kentucky because of the fact that they’ve had large numbers of coal miners. And we’ve had some recent coal layoffs in western Kentucky and that’s one of the things we’re looking at right now. Is that going to be of a significant number that we would have to turn around and ask for another one of those?”
Clark says the Board is also looking at whether potential layoffs at Fort Campbell could precipitate another emergency grant.
Clark says the money should be available for the PGDP training programs within the next few weeks.