WASHINGTON, D.C.— Following a call from U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH), the U.S. Department of Labor announced today the availability of more than $4.5 million in federal worker retraining funds to help nearly 700 Ohioans who were laid off when Masco Cop. Shuttered operations in Pike County. Earlier this month, Brown wrote to U.S. Department of Labor Secretary Hilda Solis, calling for the approval of a National Emergency Grant (NEG) application filed on behalf of workers at the Waverly company.
“This critical funding will help workers in southeast Ohio get back on their feet and prepare for jobs in growing sectors,” Brown said. “Skills training is critical to Ohio’s competitiveness. My focus remains on helping the community find a buyer for the Mills Pride Plant and bringing new employment opportunities to Pike County.”
In April 2010, Masco Corp. announced it would close the Mills Pride facility in Waverly. Brown remains committed to working with local and state officials to find a buyer for the plant that would retain and create jobs.
A member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Brown has been a strong advocate for Southern Ohio. He led the fight in Congress to accelerate the Piketon cleanup and to create new jobs, resulting in an expedited timeframe for cleanup – moving the completion date up by more than 20 years. As a result of Brown and President Obama's efforts, Piketon doubled the amount of cleanup funding that they received, including $118 million in cleanup funds through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. President Obama's FY 2011 budget request also includes nearly $500 million for the project.
The full text of Brown’s letter requesting NEG funds for Pike County can be found below.
June 3, 2011
The Honorable Hilda Solis
U.S. Department of Labor
200 Constitution Ave. NW
Washington, D.C. 20210
Dear Secretary Solis:
I am writing in strong support of the National Emergency Grant (NEG) filed on behalf of the workers at Masco Corp. In April 2010, Masco announced that it would close its manufacturing facilities in Waverly, Ohio. This decision will adversely affect more than 1300 hardworking Ohioans and will present significant economic challenges for the entire southeast Ohio region.
As the Department of Labor reviews the application, I am confident you will find it meets the objectives of the NEG program. Such critical assistance will greatly help the affected workers and their families get back on their feet while providing the community with the necessary resources to help the workers transition to new employment opportunities.
I urge you to give urgent attention to this matter, as a timely response is needed for the workers, their families, and the surrounding communities. Please keep my office informed on the status of this application.
Your response should be directed to my Cleveland Office, 1301 East 9th St. Suite 1701, Cleveland OH, 44114.
Thank you for your attention to this matter.
United States Senator