Laid off Norandal workers may receive job training, extended unemployment benefits

SALISBURY — Workers who have lost their jobs at the Norandal USA plant in the past year may be able to apply for help from the government for job training and other assistance.

People laid off from the aluminum rolling mill on Jake Alexander Boulevard since Nov. 8, 2012 may be eligible to receive additional unemployment insurance benefits, assistance for retraining, relocation or job search allowances and Reemployment Trade Adjustment Assistance under the federal Trade Act Program.

Norandal is laying off an additional 59 employees on Dec. 29, or about a third of the plant’s workforce.

Laid off Norandal workers are eligible to receive special assistance in finding new jobs or entering training programs, according to the N.C. Department of Commerce Division of Workforce Solutions. The announcement came after the U.S. Dept. of Labor approved a Trade Adjustment Assistance petition filed by Norandal to help laid off workers.

Workers may be able to receive the cost of up to two and a half years in a training program, including tuition, books and fees. Other potential benefits include up to 130 weeks of weekly unemployment allowances while attending training, as well as job search and relocation allowances and a health coverage tax credit.

The average cost of an agency-approved, two-year training program in North Carolina is between $5,000 and $6,000, according to the Division of Workforce Solutions.

Workers who are at least 50 years may be eligible for reemployment trade adjustment assistance, which is an alternative for older workers who want to return to employment.

To determine someone’s eligibility to apply for and receive benefits, contact the employment service office at 704-639-7529.

The Federal Trade Act provides special benefits to workers who are laid off or have their hours reduced due to increased imports from other countries, or if there is a shift in production or supply of services to other countries.

Norandal officials have said the upcoming layoffs were triggered by increased import competition on certain light-gauge foil products, resulting in a decline in demand at rolling mills in Salisbury and Newport, Ark.

Norandal “has experienced a continued and dramatic decline in sales in the aluminum foil market, and there are no signs that this will be different in the foreseeable future,” Robert Major, human resources director for Norandal in Franklin, Tenn., told the N.C. Department of Commerce in October.

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