More than 1,000 laid off employees from Monaco Coach Corp. will receive worker retraining assistance through $3.85 million in federal grants announced Thursday.
The money is intended to extend aid to 1,430 workers who lost their jobs at the recreational vehicle maker’s operations in Coburg and in the Eastern Oregon community of Hines, according to the Register-Guard, Eugene, Ore.
Lane Workforce Partnership and the Oregon Consortium will each handle grants awarded by the U.S. Department of Labor. Most of the money will flow to Lane County, where the vast majority of Monaco workers lost their jobs as the RV industry contracted during the high fuel prices and economic recession of the past two years. The March termination of 2,200 Monaco workers, including 1,355 workers at its Coburg plant, was the biggest layoff ever in Lane County.
Kristina Payne of Lane Workforce Partnership said earlier grants of nearly $1 million had provided 70 scholarships to workers seeking retraining last spring, as well as 66 scholarships during the summer and 73 this fall. With the latest award, she said her agency could now more aggressively promote the availability of aid to help laid off Monaco workers get retrained for new careers.
“It’s hard when you don’t know that you have the funds in hand,” said Payne, the work force investment manager for Lane Workforce Partnership.
Payne said the Lane Workforce Partnership had not been sure it was going to get the grant money. “We were starting to wonder if this was really going to come through for us,” she said. “So it was somewhat of a surprise. It’s not automatic to receive the funds.”
Monaco filed for bankruptcy protection in March, and in June sold its major assets to Navistar International Corp., which created a new division called Monaco RV LLC to build recreational vehicles.