$4.6 million allotted to aid laid-off federal employees

April 12, 1996|By John M. Biers | John M. Biers,STATES NEWS SERVICE

WASHINGTON -- More than 1,000 federal workers in Maryland who lose their jobs in the downsizing of government will have access to job training and counseling under a federal grant announced yesterday.

The $4.6 million Labor Department grant to Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia is expected to serve about 4,000 federal workers in the Baltimore-Washington area who are expected to lose their jobs. About 1,400 federal workers in the Washington area have been laid off since October.

Gary L. Moore, executive director of the Maryland Office of Employment Training, estimated that about 40 percent of the workers in the region who are laid off would be Maryland residents. Under the grant, any Maryland resident who loses a job in downsizing can receive assistance.

Job transition services, funded by the state, already exist in Maryland. The new money is needed, Mr. Moore said, to handle the expected increase in the numbers of clients.

"We know we have good employees and know they shouldn't be lost to the community," said Rosalie Cameron, a spokeswoman for the Office of Personnel Management. "If they aren't immediately prepared for work in the private sector, we'll train them so their skills are matched to the right job."

Under the program, career centers will receive more funding, and workers who are laid off will receive an assessment to identify their marketable skills.

Helping most laid-off workers is relatively straightforward, Mr. Moore said. Most need to brush up their skills and some resume advice. Additional training for Lotus and WordPerfect computer programs is common. More comprehensive training is less typical, though an individual could seek it under the grant, he said.

In addition, career centers will have job banks and provide workers with office space and a place to make phone calls or send faxes. There will also be support groups and seminars on how to budget while looking for a job.

Mr. Moore said the state may decide to open additional job centers but is waiting for Congress to determine the severity of the job cuts. "It's really going to depend on the numbers," he said. "We're guessing on what Congress is going to do."

Although officials have had some contact with the business community, Mr. Moore said, it's too early to say which companies might hire retrained workers.

The funding comes under the Job Training Partnership Act, a program typically used by corporations undergoing downsizing.

Federal workers can call the Maryland Office of Training at (410) 767-2832 or access the Labor Department's job bank on the World Wide Web at http: /www.ajb.dni.us.

Pub Date: 4/12/96

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