Michael Hanson/Aurora Photos for NPR
Gary and Rachel Peterson were laid off together.
I've been spending time with a father and daughter in southwest Washingon state who both lost their jobs last January. Gary and Rachel Peterson both worked at a Weyerhaeuser sawmill Aberdeen. They didn't just lose their jobs, they also lost their trade. Aberdeen used to be a big timber town is now almost completely empty of industry. The mills are gone. And thanks to that fact, the Petersons qualify for what is, according to one local career counselor, the "Cadillac of all unemployment benefits."
The Trade Adjustment Assistance program is for people who worked in farm or manufacturing jobs that are being displaced by global trade. The Petersons now qualify for extra help with their job searches, relocation allowance, training and extra income support.
The Trade Adjustment Assistance program has been around for decades but President Obama is now throwing more money at it. From the WSJ:
Workers approved after May 18 will qualify for an 80% tax credit for health insurance, up from 65% currently. They'll be eligible for as much as 21/2 years of cash payments, up from two years now, with schooling and related transportation paid during the period. TAA beneficiaries over 50 who find lower-paying work can recoup as much as $12,000 in "lost" wages from the government, up from $10,000.
For Rachel Peterson, it means she can go back to nursing school and afford to have another baby. Gary Peterson doesn't want any of it. He does not want to go to school, does not want unemployment — he wants to work. He is hoping to get a job with a local construction company. More from the Petersons here and on All Things Considered today.