PORTLAND, Maine β€” Employees being laid off as Expera Specialty Solutions closes its Old Town pulp mill will be eligible to receive federal funds to help them make transitions to new jobs or careers.

U.S. Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King announced Tuesday afternoon that the 195 employees who will be laid off from the mill will be eligible to receive federal Trade Adjustment Assistance, which helps workers whose jobs were lost primarily because of foreign competition.

β€œIt is our hope that this announcement brings relief to the many hard-working men and women at the Old Town mill who, through no fault of their own, lost their jobs as a result of increased foreign competition,” the senators said in a joint statement.

That program helps fund job retraining and provides wage subsidies, which can for a period of time bridge the gap between what a person was earning and what he or she makes at a new job.

The Wisconsin-based Expera Specialty Solutions in September announced its plan to close the pulp mill around the end of 2015, about a year after it bought the facility for $10.5 million in a bankruptcy auction.

The company said in its statement that it would close the mill by the end of December, and a Department of Labor official listed Dec. 31 as the closure date in the petition for Trade Adjustment Assistance.

Darren Fishell

Darren is a Portland-based reporter for the Bangor Daily News writing about the Maine economy and business. He's interested in putting economic data in context and finding the stories behind the numbers.