Thousands in Oregon Eligible for Trade Act Assistance

 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 industry needs.

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 training benefits.

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.

Contact the Public Affairs Office

Oregon City - 19600 Molalla Avenue, Oregon City, Oregon 97045

Email us: publicaffairs@clackamas.edu

Call us: 503-594-6000

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