Since 2008, nearly 18,000 jobs in
Oregon have been lost due to foreign trade – in other words, the job once done
by a worker in Oregon is now being done overseas.
Every person from a qualified
company who loses a job due to foreign trade is eligible for federal assistance
to retrain for a new job under the Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA). Figures
from the State of Oregon show that only 25 percent of those people eligible for
retraining assistance actually use the benefits to gain new skills.
A statewide federal grant
administered by Clackamas Community College aims to find these displaced
workers and connect them with services to gain the skills to find a family-wage
job. The grant also provides assistance to unemployed or underemployed people
and those seeking a career-technical degree.
“We know that much of this
retraining funding is left on the table – the people who are eligible for this
support are not getting the resources,” said Cyndi Andrews, director for the
Credential Acceleration and Support for Employment (CASE) grant. “If someone is
Trade Act eligible, we’re very interested in talking to them.”
A community college consortium led
by CCC was among 32 national recipients of federal grants announced last fall
to provide targeted job training and education to strengthen Oregon’s work
force and put people back to work. The grants support partnerships between
community colleges and employers to develop programs that provide pathways to
family-wage jobs, including building instructional programs that meet specific
One of the key areas the grant is
targeting is those TAA eligible workers. More than 66 Oregon companies have
filed TAA petitions, opening the way for laid-off employees to receive
financial assistance to retrain for job training, income support, job search,
relocation allowances and assistance with health care premium costs. Some of
the largest companies that have received TAA certifications include Boeing,
Tektronix, Intel and Cessna. In 2011, the Blue Heron Paper Co. in Oregon City
closed its doors, leaving 175 people without jobs eligible for TAA assistance.
According to figures from the
state, since 2008, 17,965 Oregonians qualified for TAA assistance. Of those
eligible people, 8,203 have completed an application, and 4,015 have used their
One of the biggest obstacles to
using the TAA benefits is navigating the process. One of the goals of the CASE
grant is supporting TAA eligible people through providing one-on-one career
coaching. In addition, the grant seeks to standardize the process of awarding
credit for prior learning and to expand the use of career pathways.
People who are Trade Act eligible
and would like to find out more about the support provided through the CASE
grant should contact Kara or John at 503-406-8758.