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|Additional help available for former IP workers|
The Louisiana Workforce Commission's Rapid Response team will be in Bastrop through Friday to conduct orientation sessions for the 550 International Paper workers who lost their jobs when the Bastrop facility closed in November.
The former Bastrop IP workers are now eligible to apply for additional retraining and re-employment services because their job loss is the result of foreign competition.
Louisiana Workforce Commission filed a petition with the U.S. Department of Labor requesting Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) for the former IP workers. LWC was notified this week that it had been approved.
Orientation sessions will be held at the Bastrop/Morehouse Visitor's Center at 124 North Washington St. in Bastrop.
LWC's Rapid Response staff will conduct the orientation sessions, which will inform employees about the full array of TAA services available to them. It will include training scholarships, job search and relocation allowances, income support and health coverage tax credits.
"The TAA certification will give us additional resources to get International Paper employees back to work or in training programs as quickly as possible," said LWC executive director Tim Barfield. "The closure of the mill has been very difficult for those employees, as well as Bastrop and the surrounding area. We're very happy that the federal government agrees with us on the causes of the closure and the need for this additional assistance."
The TAA program provides services to workers who lose their jobs or whose hours of work and wages are reduced because of international competition.
The services available through the TAA program are being offered in addition to the orientation sessions, worker transition center, job-readiness seminars and job fair provided in Bastrop by the LWC's Rapid Response Team.
TAA services are offered at no cost to the employer or the participating employees.