More than $800,000 to be used to train laid-off Orion bus workers for new careers

By WKTV News

ORISKANY, N.Y. - New York State will use up to $812,500 in federal funding to retrain 270 Orion Bus workers who were impacted by recent layoffs, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced on Wednesday.

The Governor says he has directed the State Department of Labor (DOL) to partner with the Workforce Investment Board of Herkimer, Madison and Oneida Counties to administer the funds and develop training programs. Once trained, both agencies will help connect workers to new jobs in emerging fields that have potential for growth.

"This funding will help the hardworking men and women from Orion Bus to get the tools they need to reenter the workforce," Governor Cuomo said. "It will also connect them with local employers in the Mohawk Valley seeking to hire." On April 25, 2012, Daimler Buses North America (Orion Bus) announced that layoffs would occur in their Oriskany plant between September 2012 and March 2013. Immediately following the plant closure announcement, the State mobilized its Rapid Response Reemployment Team to provide reemployment and retraining services for the workers. Today's announcement continues the commitment from New York State to assist the Orion workers in obtaining comprehensive, hands-on training in occupations that are in demand. New York State Department of Labor Commissioner Peter M. Rivera said, "When you're told you're going to lose your job, you start to question how you'll accomplish basic things like feeding your family. Getting these people back on their feet wouldn't be possible without help from our staff members in the field and our local partners."

All workers who were laid off will be contacted to enroll in the training programs available. The state will offer certificate and degree training programs in advanced manufacturing, environmental technology, health care, information technology and other in-demand occupations. During and following the trainings, both agencies will work with local and state-wide employers to help place workers in new jobs.

Oneida County Executive Anthony J. Picente, Jr. said, "The workforce at Orion includes some of the best workers in Oneida County, with a great work ethic and outstanding levels of experience. This funding will allow those workers to add new skills and update existing skills so that they can have access to the opportunities in the precision manufacturing cluster that is a strong part of Oneida County's economy and other sectors that are showing growth. I want to thank the State for its support of our efforts. Working to help Orion workers has been a partnership effort from the start. In a time of scarce resources, I appreciate the State's investment in the people of Oneida County."

This federal funding for training is disbursed by DOL to local areas and may be requested to address plant closings or substantial layoffs that exceed the current resources available. Further information about this funding and the Rapid Response Reemployment Team efforts in the Mohawk Valley region can be found at or by calling (315) 793-2716.

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