The governors of three Northeast States hard hit by the Wall Street meltdown are urging federal officials to approve a $48.2 million grant to help retrain financial services workers who have lost their jobs.
In a letter to Labor Secretary Elaine Chao, Governors M. Jodi Rell of Connecticut, David Paterson of New York, and John Corzine of New Jersey, call on the federal government to pass a national emergency grant for the tri-state area. Officials project that the three states will lose a combined 160,000 jobs by year’s end, and 82,000 financial service jobs by the end of 2009.
“Given the bearish economic forecasts for the next two to three years, we anticipate the unemployment rate will continue to rise significantly,” the letter says. “It is essential that our states have sufficient resources in place to help support and transition these workers to new employment opportunities.”
Governor Rell said Connecticut, for instance, expects to lose 11,400 of its financial jobs in three of its most heavily affected counties – Fairfield, New Haven and Hartford – based on estimates by labor market analysts.
“Connecticut workers – like those in our neighboring states – are feeling the pain of the turmoil on Wall Street,” Rell said. “Many of the people losing jobs are not highly-paid securities traders, but administrative and computer support personnel. It is unlikely that they will return to financial sector jobs and they will need retraining and other support services to help them transition back into the workforce.”
In the past five months, the unemployment rate for the tri-state region has increased from 4.5 percent to 5.8 percent. In New York State, 20,000 jobless claims from the financial sector have been filed over the past six months. New Jersey has lost nearly 10,000 financial services jobs over the last two years.
Governor Rell said the federal grant will allow the three states to develop a coordinated response to help displaced workers. The grant would provide individuals with training accounts of $12,500 for 24 months for job search and relocation assistance.
The tri-state response also includes a labor market analysis and forecasting for the region and identification of high-paying, skilled job opportunities in industrial sectors and other areas, such as training for math and science teachers.
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