The U.S. Department of Labor has awarded $3 million in National Emergency Grant funding to provide employment-related services to RG Steel workers affected by the closure of the Sparrows Point steel mill.
U.S. Senators Barbara Mikulski and Ben Cardin made a joint announcement late Monday about the grant that will help provide about 885 employees with training and employment services, according to a statement from the senators.
"This federal assistance is good news and will provide a critical lifeline for the workers affected by the closure of the Sparrows Point mill," Mikulski, a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, said in the statement.
"This is absolutely the type of thing we need to do for the workers of RG Steel," Cardin said in the statement. "It will provide important employment-related services to those who through no fault of their own are affected by the closure of the Sparrows Point plant."
The grant money is awarded to the Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation, according to the statement.
The federal grants "temporarily expand the service capacity of Workforce Investment Act dislocated worker training and employment programs at the state and local levels by providing funding assistance in response to large, unexpected economic events which cause significant job losses," according to the statement.
One goal of the funding is to provide occupational training to help laid-off workers quickly gain new employment.
After RG Steel filed for bankruptcy on May 31, Mikulski and Cardin asked the Department of Labor and the Internal Revenue Service to ensure that eligible RG Steel workers and retirees receive benefits to help them seek new employment and provide access to affordable health coverage, according to the statement.
Both programs provide assistance to workers who lose their jobs because of outsourcing to foreign countries.
The TAA petitions for all RG Steel locations are still pending, according to Department of Labor officials.
"I will continue to fight for the TAA benefits and affordable health insurance coverage for the hard-working men and women of the Sparrows Point mill," Mikulski said in the statement.