News release from the City of Fort Wayne:
Fight to retain Navistar talent gets major boost with Trade Adjustment Assistance certification
Mayor Henry Leads Charge to Secure Federal Reemployment Services
(October 25, 2011) – Mayor Tom Henry today shared the good news that local Navistar employees have been certified to receive Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) through the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL). The October 20 decision gives Navistar workers eligibility for a substantial array of reemployment benefits and services.
Joining Mayor Henry in the announcement were Kathleen Randolph, President and CEO of WorkOne Northeast, and Craig Randolph, a Lead Designer with Navistar who helped in the preparation of the petition.
“There is no more important work than our fight for good jobs, business investment and our talented workforce,” said Mayor Henry. “The Trade Adjustment Assistance certification is outstanding news for Navistar employees and our entire region. It will help Navistar workers find new opportunities and ensure the retention of these exceptional community assets right here in northeast Indiana.”
The TAA designation covers all workers and formers workers of the Navistar Truck Development and Technology Center and the Navistar Truck Reliability Center, along with the leased workers from Populous Group, Livernois Vehicle Development, ASG Renaissance, and Alpha Rae Personnel, Inc., who became totally or partially separated from employment with Navistar on or after January 30, 2010, through two years from the date of certification. The number affected could be as many as 1,400 workers.
The TAA is the most robust and comprehensive of all federal workforce programs. For a plant closure of this magnitude, trade resources upward of $7 million are a realistic expectation.
Under TAA, eligible workers who apply are entitled to a variety of resources that may include reemployment services, training, job search allowances, relocation allowances and health coverage tax credits. Additionally, Reemployment Trade Adjustment Assistance benefits are a specialized option for workers 50 years or older.
For those individuals who are participating in fulltime, TAA-approved training, Trade Readjustment Allowance – known as income support – is also available. As long as the TAA participant progresses through the training program at an appropriate pace, the income support could last approximately two years.
Massive changes in the international trade environment prompted the creation of the TAA program. Its purpose is to aid workers who have lost their jobs due to increased imports or production shifts to foreign countries. The program enables trade-affected individuals to access services, most notably training dollars, helping them to secure new employment as quickly as possible at comparable wages.
The TAA application came about following the decision of Navistar in August 2010 to phase down Fort Wayne activity and consolidate operations in Lisle, Illinois.
The certification process began with a petition by Navistar workers to DOL in February of this year. The original application was denied on April 13. Confident in the merits of claim, a request for administrative reconsideration was submitted by the employee group on May 31.
On August 17, a contingent led by Mayor Henry met with DOL Assistant Secretary Jane Oates in Washington, D.C. to personally advance the request for reconsideration. In a highly unusual response on September 15, the DOL determined that the claim had sufficient weight to justify another look. Just a little over a month later, the TAA certification was awarded.
“In our fight for good jobs, no is not an acceptable answer,” observed Mayor Henry. “Just as we did upon hearing the first rumors about a Navistar move, when the initial TAA petition was denied, we marshaled all our resources and got to work to turn it around. And we did. Now those Navistar employees will have the resources to hone their skills, stay in the area, get back to work and strengthen our talented and ready workforce.”
“Today’s announcement is in large part the result of Mayor Henry’s tenacity and his determination to support the Navistar employees in every way possible,” stated Randolph. “The TAA funds will help create new employment opportunities right here in our region for each of them. We need to make sure that they have the skills and credentials that local employers are seeking and then we’ll help them connect to new jobs.”
The TAA program is unique in that resources are attached to each worker and services are based upon individual need. To determine assistance, WorkOne Northeast will host meetings with eligible employees to outline the variety of TAA benefits and services. Following enrollment, workers will be assigned to an Employee Training Advisor who will help connect them to specific resources and walk them through the process.
The community’s aggressive efforts to support Navistar employees have already had significant impact. Using $100,000 of Talent Initiative funds and additional state and federal grants to support those who desire training, to date, 112 Navistar employees have already entered into various certification programs.
WorkOne Northeast will serve as the single point of contact for all TAA activity. Staff may be reached by phone at (260) 745-3555 or online at. In Fort Wayne, WorkOne offices are located at 201 East Rudisill Boulevard, Suite 102.
The City of Fort Wayne and WorkOne Northeast along with the Fort Wayne-Allen County Economic Development Alliance, the Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership, Allen County, the Greater Fort Wayne Chamber of Commerce, the State of Indiana, other local and regional entities and elected officials have all been part of the team working together to encourage job creation and private investment in northeast Indiana, foster a vibrant workforce and discover new options for Navistar employees.