Laid-off USEC workers getting more help than others


Reporter - Jason Hibbs
Photojournalist - Chad Darnall

PADUCAH, Ky. - It's true that some laid-off USEC workers can get more assistance than others.  It comes in the form of out-of-area job searches, relocation assistance and extra help for people with disabilities, just to name a few.

That's not to mention the new career center that opened after the first round of layoffs.

If you are unemployed or facing unemployment, you might be able to tap in to these benefits too.

Is one group of workers getting more help than others?

"Everybody's eligible for something." Jim Pape said.

Pape works for the West Kentucky Community and Technical College.

He oversees the career center where some former USEC workers will get extra help because they were 'trade affected,' impacted by an international trade situation.

For USEC, it was the Fukashima Nuclear Disaster in 2011.

Those Japanese reactors are now shut down, and USEC lost a large customer.

Not everyone at USEC qualifies for trade adjustment. It depends on their individual job description.

Other laid-off people could qualify for trade assistance depending on their former job.

Pape said people just need to ask, and this is the place to do it.

"It doesn't say USEC on the sign, it says Career Solutions Community," Pape said.

Here everything is under one roof, because when you're searching for work time is of the essence.

The Union Steelworkers were the ones who applied for the trade assistance.  The union president says another factor in the Department of Labor's decision to grant the request: the end of a 13-year-agreement with Russia concerning the conversion of high enriched uranium to low enriched uranium for nuclear fuel.  That's more business lost for USEC.

People with the Workforce Investment Act say there's not a lump sum of trade assistance money set aside.  The money distributed depends on the amount of people who ask for assistance and the type of assistance they need.

To learn more about options available for laid off workers, click here.