April 30, 2009

Federal Economic Recovery Money will Help Retrain Workers Laid Off from Fleetwood Enterprises

Washington, D.C. - Oregon Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley announced today that Oregon has been awarded an initial $943,669 in economic recovery funds to help retrain 240 workers who lost their jobs following closure of travel trailer manufacturing plants in Umatilla and Union counties.

"Nothing could be more important than helping workers who have lost their jobs through no fault of their own," Wyden said. "It is important that we invest in these skilled, productive workers so they are ready to reenter the workforce quickly and successfully. That is exactly what this money will do."

"Our rural communities in Northeastern Oregon need and deserve this help," Merkley said. "I am pleased that this assistance is available to help workers retrain and prepare to find jobs in our changing economy. With the right training and opportunity, they will be able to build a brighter future for their families and communities."

Fleetwood Enterprises announced in March that it was closing its travel trailer manufacturing plants in La Grande and Pendleton. Company officials said at the time that 150 to 160 workers would be affected by the closure of the La Grande facility and 250 at the Pendleton plant.

The National Emergency Grant, which could eventually total more than $2 million, was awarded by the U.S. Department of Labor and is being financed with money from the economic stimulus package, also known as American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. The money was awarded to the Oregon Department of Community Colleges and Workforce Development. The geographic area covered by the award includes Morrow, Umatilla and Union counties.