WASHINGTON, D.C.– U.S. Senator Olympia J. Snowe (R-Maine) today called for swift action on behalf of the roughly 500 workers who will be affected by Dexter Shoe Company’s decision to cease domestic production at its Dexter facility within the next two months. Snowe said her office is working with Dexter town officials to coordinate a retraining briefing for workers later this month.
“I am deeply saddened by Dexter’s announcement that it will end its Maine operations. Dexter Shoe Company has provided good, traditional manufacturing jobs to hundreds of workers in our state, but has suffered the effects of foreign competition that have reduced the workforce in recent years. Today’s announcement will have a considerable effect for the nearly 500 workers in Dexter who will lose their jobs, and for their families,” said Snowe.
“Major layoffs like these have an effect beyond the workers that can shake the very foundation of many communities. It is my hope that the Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) program, which has been in place since 1999 for Dexter Shoe workers, will quickly retrain these workers in new fields and assist the communities in returning to normal,” said Snowe, a member of the Senate Finance Committee, which oversees the TAA program.
In addition to contacting municipal officials in affected communities, Snowe’s office contacted the Maine Department of Labor following the layoff announcement and will participate in the Maine DOL Rapid Employment and Training Initiative (RETI) sessions to assist displaced workers. Snowe said her office is also working with Dexter town authorities to arrange a September 28th briefing for affected workers. The briefing, organized by Eastern Maine Development Corporation, will include representatives of federal and state agencies that offer job training assistance for workers, including the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development agency, the U.S. Economic Development Administration, the U.S. Small Business Administration, and the Maine Department of Economic and Community Development.
TAA assistance provides training in a variety of occupations for which there is currently high demand, ranging from health care officials and accounting to law enforcement and retail sales. TAA offers a wide range of benefits and reemployment services to help unemployed workers prepare to reenter the workforce.
“I will do all that I can to assist the workers affected by Dexter’s decision and will have my staff at the RETI sessions this coming week,” Snowe said. “It is critical that these workers and their families regain their footing through training and assistance in finding new jobs. By providing displaced workers with training, job search and relocation allowances, and other reemployment services, TAA will give these displaced workers an opportunity to recover from the layoff.”
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