During an appearance in Iowa, the U.S. Labor Secretary announced her agency is providing over a million dollars in federal grants to help retrain laid-off Iowa workers. The money will go to employees affected by the closing of Atwood Mobile Products in West Union and Donnelly Publishing in Spencer.
Another federal program will help train workers to jobs in health care professions. Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis toured the health sciences center at Des Moines Area Community College in Ankeny this morning.
“In hard times when you have high unemployment which (Iowa’s) is a bit higher than it was a couple of years ago, but maybe not as high as other places in the country, but nevertheless you have depressed salaries,” Solis said. “So you don’t have people really making the potential amount of money they could be earning, so we definitely want to continue to have the education component involved, the training component.”
The cabinet secretary met with DMACC students who are studying for careers in health care.
“I’m glad I had an opportunity to talk to some of the students because they told me, firsthand, some lost their jobs and looked at coming here in the health care arena as another profession, as a way to stabilize their lives and their families,” she says, “and to give them that second hope, to move on.”
According to the labor secretary, the State of Iowa has received $113 million in federal help so far this year for laid-off workers in Iowa — money that came from the federal economic stimulus package. Solis announced today that her agency is making an addition $220 million in grants available to states for training workers in the health care field.