Missoula, MT (KGVO-AM News) - The U.S. and Montana Departments of Labor and Industry announced a $2 million investment to help displaced workers at Pyramid Lumber in Seeley Lake and Roseburg Forest Products in Missoula.

I spoke with Sarah Swanson, Director of the Montana Department of Labor and Industry about the assistance for displaced workers.

$2 Million to Help Retrain Displaced Pyramid and Roseburg Workers

“We are so thrilled to announce this award of just under $2 million of direct investment into the workers who need opportunities to retrain, to skill up, and to enter new professions in Western and northwest Montana,” began Secretary Swanson. “What happens when we have an industry event like what we've experienced in the timber industry in western Montana is that we can pursue federal funding for dislocated worker grants.”

Swanson provides some specific numbers on how these workers will be assisted in finding training for new jobs.

Up to 250 Displaced Workers can Receive Retraining in Other Jobs

“We were successful in our application,” she said. “The U.S. Department of Labor announced today that we received just over $1.9 million, the first $800,000 of which is on its way to us now. What we think we can do with these funds is assist up to 250 impacted workers access training and retraining and skilling up opportunities to get back into the workforce in high wage, high skill careers.”

Swanson said each of the up to 250 workers will have an opportunity to get the retraining they need.

“They’ll sit down with the job service, go through our skill matching tool, and identify what skills they learned through their employment with their previous timber industry employer,” she said. “What would they like to do? And then we work together to find the training program or the next opportunity, whether it be a registered apprenticeship or a training program with a two-year college, a community college or a tribal college, or maybe it's an opportunity with one of Montana's joint apprenticeship training centers.”

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Each Local Job Service Office will be the Starting Point for the Workers

Swanson further explained how the process will assist these displaced workers.

“We start with a visit with (the local) job service, then we go through the skill matching tool to identify what their next step and desired training is,” she said. “We help them find that training, and then what this grant will do is it will help us fund that training so we can pay for their participation, hopefully, get them completed, and then help them with everything from resume writing to interview skills to land that job in their new field, right in the community where they want to continue to live and work.”

Get more details about these National Dislocated Worker Grants here.

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