LINCOLN, Maine — The U.S. Department of Labor has released another $256,696 to help fund job retraining for about 100 workers laid off from the Lincoln Paper and Tissue LLC mill in December who hadn’t already qualified for the retraining, U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud said Monday.
The funding is a national emergency grant — a discretionary award by the secretary of labor that temporarily expands retraining services through time-limited funding assistance in response to significant dislocation events or layoffs. Significant events are those that create a sudden need for assistance that cannot reasonably be accommodated within regular unemployment assistance programs, said Michaud, D-Maine.
Lincoln Paper and Tissue LLC co-owner Keith Van Scotter announced in early December that an explosion of a recovery boiler at the mill on Nov. 2 forced the indefinite but not permanent layoffs of 200 workers. He and other company officials have said they will not seek to replace the boiler, a key element to the papermaking components of their mill, until market conditions improve. Such boilers can cost as much as $100 million to replace.
The mill’s three tissue machines continue to run, company workers have said.
In a petition the company filed on Dec. 16 with the U.S. Department of Labor seeking job retraining and employment services for the 200 affected workers, company officials also disclosed that the loss of a tissue contract to an Indonesian firm caused the job loss. The petition did not mention the explosion.
The last of the layoffs was due to occur Dec. 19.
The federal government approved retraining program funding for Lincoln on Jan. 17.