State working to help laid off BPI workers - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

State working to help laid off BPI workers


Iowa Workforce Development is continuing to assist workers affected by the permanent closure of some operations at Beef Products, Inc. Monday, BPI announced it would shut down operations at three of its four plants for good, in the wake of what's been dubbed a "smear campaign" surrounding lean finely textured beef.

The closure affects 650 workers, including about 200 just at the Waterloo facility located inside the Tyson Foods plant. Workforce Development has been helping BPI employees since the company announced a temporary shut down of its plants back in March.  Now that the closure is permanent, Workforce Development is helping affected workers obtain normal unemployment benefits, which are automatically increased to a minimum of 39 weeks for those affected by plant shut downs.  The agency offers job search assistance, too.

The state agency is also applying for national emergency grant dollars from the US Department of Labor.  That includes money from the Workforce Reinvestment Act, which supplies funding for laid off workers to obtain retraining through a technical, community, or four-year college.  Additional funds are being sought to help employees in need of GED and English as a second language classes.  Typically under similar circumstances, such federal funding will begin flowing into the state within 30 days.

The affected BPI plants are set to officially close May 25.


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