The Idaho Department of Labor will receive $4.2 million in federal grants to assist about 650 workers recently laid off from J.R. Simplot Co. potato processing plants and from the Center Partners call center in Idaho Falls.
The funds, which will be released gradually from the U.S. Department of Labor, will be devoted to helping the displaced workers find new jobs.
Those services will be available to the 435 workers laid off by Simplot as it closes processing plants in Aberdeen, Caldwell, Heyburn and Nampa as part of the company's plan to consolidate operations to its new Caldwell plant. The 219 workers laid off by the March 31 closure of the call center in Idaho Falls will also qualify.
Both the Simplot and call center workers qualify for career guidance, case management, job search assistance, on-the-job training and other training opportunities through the Idaho Department of Labor. The laid-off Simplot employees are also eligible for Trade Adjustment Assistance benefits.