COLUMBUS — The U.S. Department of Labor has certified 20 petitions for benefit eligibility for workers under the Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) program. These are the first certifications under the new TAA law that took effect on May 18, 2009, which, among other changes, expanded program access to previously ineligible service industry workers.
The petition of Mt. Vernon Mills, Brentex Division, in Columbus was certified. It was the only Mississippi company to earn certification.
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) expanded the pool of eligible TAA recipients to include workers in companies that supply services, workers whose companies have shifted production to any foreign country, workers in public agencies, workers whose companies produce component parts of a finished product, workers in companies that supply testing, packaging, maintenance and transportation services to companies with TAA-certified workers and workers whose companies are identified in an International Trade Commission “injury” determination listed in the Trade Act of 1974. The ARRA also raised the cap on annual TAA training funds from $220 million to $575 million.
Workers experiencing a loss or decrease in employment due to trade may submit a petition to the Department of Labor for certification. Workers certified as eligible for TAA have access to a variety of resources such as re-employment services, job search allowances, relocation allowances and various types of income support.
Expanded TAA has resulted in more than 1,200 petitions filed since May 18, compared with137 petitions filed during the same period in 2008.