Former IBM workers get training benefits

From staff reports

ST. PAUL -- More than 100 workers who lost jobs when IBM Rochester's disk-processing plant was shut last fall can count on job training through the state's Dislocated Worker Program.

Rochester-based Workforce Development Inc., which specializes in employment programs, has obtained a $336,000 grant from the Minnesota Department of Trade and Economic Development to help those who lost jobs.

The retraining effort is retroactive to Jan. 1 and lasts through Sept. 30, 2003, said Bill Hahn, who directs the agency's dislocated worker services in 10 area counties.

Some laid-off workers already are taking courses to improve training or change careers. "I know we've got some in higher-tech training," involving software certifications or computer repair, Hahn said.


The workers also are eligible for job-related assistance -- such as job counseling, search classes, literacy instruction and retraining -- and for support services, such as money to help pay health insurance, child care or emergency assistance while they are in training.

In November, IBM announced the closing of its processing line for glass platters that become the disks used in disk drives. The decision eliminated the jobs of 180 IBM workers and also affected 15 employees of maintenance contractor Fluor Corp. at the beginning of January.

Workforce Development expects to help 105 of those workers through the grant, Hahn said. The agency also provides help to workers laid off from other companies, he said.

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