The U.S. Department of Labor announced that employees who lost their jobs with the closure of the Alcoa Wenatchee Works will be eligible for Trade Adjustment Assistance, providing funds for education and training.
Trade Adjustment Assistance is aid for workers who lose jobs to foreign competition, such as a flood of cheap Chinese aluminum. Money for education or training is no cure for losing lucrative employment, like the family-wage jobs at Alcoa, but still very welcome. For the workers who qualify the aid could be substantial.
Trade Adjustment Assistance can bring up to $22,000 per worker for a two-year training program, or $25,000 for a four-year program. It can reimburse lost wages for employees age 50 and up. It can pay moving expenses for workers who take a job elsewhere.
The federal assistance is in addition to aid already committed by the state and Gov. Jay Inslee for counseling, one-on-one advice and training through Wenatchee Valley College.
Restarting the Wenatchee Works is a possibility we, or government, cannot set aside. Aid and education is the alternative for these displaced workers, and for it we all should be grateful.