2009-10-29 / Front Page

$300K Grant To Help Recall JLG Workers

Training money expands M-ATV manufacturing skills
By Lindsay R. Mellott STAFF WRITER

A $300,000 federal grant will assist JLG Industries in bringing back laid-off workers to help build thousands of armored all-terrain vehicles (M-ATVs) for the U.S. military.

Gov. Ed Rendell made the announcement last Wednesday in a press release, saying that the grant money will be used to expand the manufacturing capabilities of JLG employees to include military trucks.

Rendell said that thanks to a military contract JLG is bringing back 650 of its workers who were laid off as demand for JLG products fell, and is hiring 30 new employees.

“In order to succeed in meeting this new demand, these returning employees – through no fault of their own – need to enhance their skills,” the governer said. “That’s where the commonwealth comes in, with $300,000 in federal dislocated worker funds that will be used to train those 680 workers.”

The grant award, along with matching funds from JLG, will give recalled workers who are building the M-ATVs three to four weeks of extensive training.

JLG said in July that it would call back 550 to 650 of its laid-off employees after parent company Oshkosh Corp. learned that it had won the big Department of Defense (DOD) contract. To date, the DOD has placed four orders for 5,219 M-ATVs valued at $2.76 billion.

The armored trucks are being built at JLG and Oshkosh Defense facilities, and company officials have said production at JLG is expected to reach 500 trucks per month by December.

Oshkosh spokesperson Ann Stawski confirmed Tuesday that so far JLG has recalled 400 of its laid-off employees. She said the company is working toward 650 recalls as it ramps up M-ATV production to meet the 500 vehicles per month target.

Despite the 400 recalls, Fulton County’s jobless rate for September shows little change over August, continuing to remain close to 15 percent at 14.8 percent. The jobless rate has stayed high enough to keep Fulton County’s ranking at number 66 out of Pennyslyvania’s 67 counties, and unchanged from July and August.

Federal dislocated worker funds are available through the Workforce Investment Act to support local training, education and re-employment activities for workers who have lost their jobs through mass layoffs.

Rendell called the JLG layoffs “devasting to the affected workers and the local economy.”

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