Wed, Nov 26, 2014 ●
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Labor Dept. announces $2.5M in aid for Brunswick base workers

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Labor Dept. announces $2.5M in aid for Brunswick base workers

BRUNSWICK — About 400 workers affected by the 2011 closure of Brunswick Naval Air Station will receive re-employment services, thanks to a $2.5 million grant awarded by the federal Department of Labor.

The funds, awarded through the National Emergency Grant program, was touted by U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree, D-Maine, and U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud, D-Maine, as benefiting the estimated 700 civilian workers expected to lose their jobs when BNAS closes.

Officials tracking BNAS closure estimate that closure will result in the loss of 5,000 jobs and $140 million in annual income.

The NEG funding will focus on the retraining and job-search efforts of civilian workers, as well as unemployment benefits. The $2.5 million grant brings the NEG funding total to $5.7 million, impacting about 700 workers.

NEG previously awarded funding in 2008 and 2005.

"While nothing can replace a job, this funding will provide Maine with additional resources to help those who are in the process of transitioning to new jobs and career paths," said Michaud in a press release.

Pingree said the NEG funds will make sure "unemployed Maine workers don't have to wait longer for the benefits they deserve."

"We have to make sure we do what's needed to get Mainers back to work, but this will offer them some security in the meantime," Pingree added.

The funds will be administered by the Coastal Counties Workforce, Inc. and the state Department of Labor.

Displaced workers living within a 50-mile radius of BNAS may be eligible for the benefits.

The benefits include counseling, case management, job training and development, relocation assistance and job placement.

Steve Mistler can be reached at 373-9060 ext. 123 or smistler@theforecaster.net