ASHLAND, Maine — Workers at a lumber manufacturing company laid off last October are eligible to apply for Trade Adjustment Assistance.
U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud announced Thursday afternoon that the U.S. Department of Labor had sent notice that workers at P.M. Kelly Inc. in Ashland are eligible for the federal assistance.
Trade Adjustment Assistance helps workers who have lost their jobs as a result of increased imports or a shift of production outside of the United States. TAA provides trade-affected workers with re-employment services and benefits to help them find new jobs.
Qualified employees can receive job search and relocation allowances, occupational training and education assistance and other services.
Tim Kelly, one of the principal owners of the company, said Thursday that 80 percent of his employees were doing subcontracting work for Fraser Papers when the economy collapsed last year. The company began layoffs and eventually shut down its sawmills in Ashland and Masardis earlier this year because of low lumber prices caused by the weakened U.S. housing market and lumber imports, according to company officials at the time. The Masardis mill restarted in May, but the Ashland mill remains on furlough.
The layoffs affected 11 employees at P.M. Kelly Inc., Tim Kelly said. Only three workers remain at the 22-year-old company, which is on Clark Road.
Michaud praised the announcement.
“While nothing can replace having a job, this is welcome news at a time when so many families are struggling to makes ends meet during this recession,” he said. “Trade Adjustment Assistance will help these workers get back on their feet by providing them with important skills assessments, training and job search assistance.”
Kelly said Thursday he is not optimistic he will be able to bring his laid off employees back to work.