U.S. Labor Department Approves HC&S Application, Makes Millions of Dollars in Federal Funding Available for Workers

Schatz, Who Worked With Secretary Perez to Identify Funding, Praises Announcement

HONOLULU – Today, the U.S. Department of Labor (USDOL) approved a petition for federal aid that will provide millions of dollars in federal funding for displaced workers at the Hawaiian Commercial and Sugar Company (HC&S), making it the first time ever that Hawai‘i sugar plantation workers displaced by foreign trade will receive these funds. U.S. Senator Brian Schatz (D-Hawai‘i), who worked closely with USDOL Secretary Tom Perez to identify the federal funding and determine HC&S’s eligibility, praised the announcement.

“This is great news for these workers and for Maui,” said Senator Schatz, a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee.  “For these workers, this federal money means they have additional financial support to make ends meet and an opportunity to gain new skills and find a new job. I thank Secretary Perez for working with me since the closure was announced and for moving quickly to help these workers.”

The millions of dollars in federal money will provide compensation to help replace lost wages and will cover the expenses for job retraining, including tuition, books, and transportation.  The amount workers will receive depends on individual circumstances, but workers may be able to access up to $2,000 a month in direct cash support for an additional year or longer while they are retrained to find a new job.

The new federal funding will provide additional support for HC&S workers on top of already existing state benefits that they are entitled to receive.  In addition, workers at companies that are impacted by HC&S’s closure may also be eligible for the same benefits and the companies may be eligible for business consulting services.

Last week, Senator Schatz announced that HC&S’s workers were eligible for the federal aid through Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) as a matter of statute.  The TAA program provides benefits to eligible workers who lost their jobs due to the adverse effects of foreign trade.  Last year, Senator Schatz cosponsored legislation to reauthorize the worker aid program.

Displaced HC&S workers who have questions on accessing federal relief can contact their local Workforce Development Division One-Stop Office at (808) 984-2091.

For more information on the benefits for HC&S workers through TAA, please click here.