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Retraining help arrives for laid-off Alstom workforce in Hornell

Emma Jacobs
The mostly quiet Alstom campus in Hornell, this past summer.

At the end of last year, we aired a story from Hornell, New York on the lull in contracts for Alstom, the City's major manufacturer.

Chemung-Schuyler-Steuben Workforce Development had won a grant to offer additional assistance to some of those employees, and the The Hornell Evening Tribune has an update on some of the workers who are seeking retraining:

For some former Alstom employees, it might not matter if the company gets another contract. They’ve moved on. It isn’t out of anger, said one former employee who asked to remain anonymous. The problem is the uncertainty of being re-hired. “The one thing people who were laid-off don’t know is if they’ll be hiring people back this time,” he said. “They’ve got a reputation of letting people go, then three weeks later they’re back. “It’s a little frustrating. But it’s a business. They can’t put you to work until they have a contract. And then they’ll hire the best qualified people. If it’s not me, than it’s not me … they’re going to call back who they need.”

Transit manufacturing is known for its ups and downs, and economic development officials made the case that that roller coaster was worth it for the quality of the jobs created. But the slowdown in work for Alstom has meant a major slowdown for the whole cluster of transportation businesses in Western Steuben County and The Tribune finds many frustrated with the lack of job security.

The funds received arrived under the Trade Adjustment Act are intended to assist those whose work has been impacted by overseas competition. But Dan Porter, director of the workforce development agency that applied for the funds said work will come back to Hornell.

“People need to use downturn to prepare,” he said in December. Only a limited group of Alstom employees will be eligible for the new assistance program.

Former WRVO/Central New York reporter for the Innovation Trail.
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