For Immediate Release - January 13, 2011

Patrick- Murray Administration Delivers Grant To Help The 815 Workers Impacted By AJ Wright Closures

Boston, MA - Thursday, January 13, 2011 - The Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development today announced that the state's Rapid Response Committee approved an emergency grant of $700,000 to aid the 815 employees impacted by the closure of the AJ Wright Fall River distribution center.

As per Federal guidelines, the funds are being distributed through the region's Bristol Workforce Investment Board to the local career centers. The grant will be used to provide staffing to offer impacted workers job counseling and intensive training programs including English language proficiency classes.

The set aside funds will be available staring immediately. Rapid Response is presently working onsite with the employees. The region's Career Centers in Fall River and Attleboro will be assisting these individuals.

"Our Rapid Response team is unique in its ability to put services on the ground so quickly," said Secretary of Labor and Workforce Development Joanne F. Goldstein. "The funding will serve as a bridge while a National Emergency grant is developed for this situation."
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Rapid Response emergency set aside funds are utilized for additional assistance to local area's experiencing events that substantially increase the number of unemployed individuals.

"The emergency funding will assist our displaced workers in transitioning back into the workforce by improving their employment skills," said Mayor Flanagan.

"The emergency grant will certainly help those families impacted by the layoffs. However, we need to get our economy moving forward, so we can prevent massive layoffs of this kind from happening again," said Senator Michael Rodrigues.

"After our legislative advocacy, I'm really pleased with the Governor's quick intervention in this situation. We need to be vigilant and aware of the needs of the people who were laid off by A.J. Wright. This grant money will help them transition out of A.J. Wright and also offer training for future job opportunities," said Representative David Sullivan.