JAY — A Rapid Response Team from the Maine Department of Labor has begun holding sessions at Verso’s Androscoggin Mill for employees who will be affected by upcoming layoffs.

Verso Corp. announced Nov. 1 that it would lay off about 190 workers and temporarily idle the No. 3 paper machine, and a digester and recovery boiler that support the machine in the first quarter of 2017.

Last year, the company eliminated 300 jobs and shut down a paper machine and a pulp dryer.

The Rapid Response Team started sessions Thursday night.

The team conducted two more sessions Friday and will conduct them again on Thursday and Friday, Dec. 15 and 16, Julie D. Rabinowitz, DOL director of policy, operations and communication, said in an email Friday.

The expected layoff dates are between Jan. 12 and 26, but that has not been finalized.


“The mill is being cooperative in letting DOL staff do the sessions on-site,” she said.

The U.S. Department of Labor approved a petition in November 2015 for federal funding to provide worker assistance and retraining opportunities to workers who lost their jobs at the Jay mill.

Employees are eligible for Trade Adjustment Assistance, according to Rabinowitz.

Last year during the Rapid Response Team session, each person affected was given a “Transitions, a Resource Guide to Restarting Career and Community” booklet.

The response team is expected to go over unemployment insurance in general terms, touching on when they can file, how to apply and how much they can get. The maximum time anyone can collect regular unemployment benefits is 26 weeks, Judith Pelletier, the department’s Rapid Response Team program coordinator and Trade Adjustment Assistance program coordinator, said in 2015.

In order to start a claim, a person has to register with the Maine Job Bank website through the Maine CareerCenter.

The team is also expected to go over health care options, which are also listed in the booklet.

Members will also go over the job search process and all the resources available through CareerCenters. There are a number of centers around the state, including in Wilton and Lewiston. The centers offer services such as job search assistance, training options and tips on resume writing.

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