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Will Congress Reboot Program For Laid-Off Technology Workers?

Since the 1970s, employees who have lost their jobs to foreign imports have been able to take advantage of a federal initiative called the Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) program that covered some of their education, relocation and healthcare expenses.

Congress updated the TAA program in the 2009 stimulus package to include knowledge workers who have lost their jobs to offshoring. The U.S. Department of Labor estimates at least 155,000 U.S. technology workers have utilized the program's benefits since then.

The TAA program could see a major shakeup next month, however, unless Congress renews it by February 12. The program won't be eliminated; it will simply go back to how it looked before the new stimulus rules took effect in 2009. In other words, workers who have lost their jobs to offshoring will be excluded from the program once again, which means at least 155,000 laid-off workers could be affected.

Will Congress renew the 2009 version of the TAA program? While Congress mulls the issue, maybe it can start a meaningful and much-needed discussion about the negative impacts of offshoring on the U.S. economy. Hey, a girl can dream, right?

Computerworld ran a terrific piece the other day about the TAA's February 12 date with destiny. It's worth a read.


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