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July 27, 1999

Governor Announces Assistance For Laid-Off Marissa Mine Workers

SPRINGFIELD -- Governor George H. Ryan today announced that state officials have begun efforts to assist the roughly 400 mine workers who will be affected when the Marissa Mine in Southern Illinois closes in October.

"The decision to close the Marissa Mine is a devastating blow to workers, their families and the local economy, but there are numerous state and federal resources that can be tapped to soften the impact," Ryan said. "Most importantly, we will use every opportunity available to help workers train for and find new jobs with a future."

Already, the state's Rapid Response Team has been in contact with the company and the United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) to set up an initial on-site meeting with management and labor representatives. Following that meeting, pre-layoff workshops for the workers will be scheduled.

The Rapid Response Team consists of representatives from the Illinois Department of Commerce and Community Affairs (DCCA), the Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES), the Manpower Assistance Program of the AFL-CIO and local organizations, including the St. Clair County Intergovernmental Grants Department.

Through their combined efforts, workers will be provided counseling, skills assessment and assistance with job searches and resumes. The Rapid Response Team also will develop a plan to offer job training and education services to the workers.

Additionally, the federal Clean Air Act provides funding for employment transition assistance for laid-off mine workers.

"While the federal Clean Air Act is good for the environment, it has taken a toll on the Illinois coal industry," DCCA Director Pam McDonough said. "With Governor Ryan leading the charge, we'll make sure these dislocated workers get all the benefits they're entitled to receive under the Clean Air Act and every other program that's available to us."


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