Maine’s congressional delegation is asking the U.S. Secretary of Labor for help training workers at the Androscoggin Mill in Jay who are scheduled to be laid off from their jobs later this year.

U.S. Senators Susan Collins and Angus King and 2nd District Rep. Bruce Poliquin sent a letter to U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez on Thursday, asking that he approve a petition for Trade Adjustment Assistance for the 300 workers who will be laid off at the Androscoggin Mill in Jay, according to a news release from Collins’ office.

Trade Adjustment Assistance is legislation that provides job training and worker assistance programs to Americans who have been affected adversely by foreign competition.

About 300 workers at the Androscoggin Mill are scheduled to be laid off this fall. The mill’s owner, Verso Corp., announced in August that it would be cutting back on pulp and paper production.

“Shrinking demand attributable to foreign competition is forcing Verso Paper Corporation to scale back its annual production of coated paper and, consequently, its workforce,” the letter said. “Given the rural location of the Jay mill and the closures in recent years of other paper mills in the region, the laid-off workers face an enormous hurdle in identifying and securing alternative employment. Many may require retraining for other emerging occupations, making it crucial that these workers receive certification under the TAA program.”

Collins and Senator Ron Wyden, D-Oregon, introduced reauthorization of the TAA program in the Senate in April. The program was used by more than 700 Mainers in 2013, according to Collins’ office, and helped about 70 percent of those people find employment within three months of completing their retraining programs.

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