Former Qimonda employees apply for additional benefits

By Laura Geller - bio | email

Posted by Terry Alexander - email

HENRICO, VA (WWBT) - This is an important week for 1400 former Qimonda workers now eligible for additional benefits. The Virginia Employment Commission has begun several sessions to start the process of getting these laid off workers extra help in getting back into the workforce.

There's a pattern in thought among laid off workers attending these sessions. For Aliza Barbour the notion came on February 17.

"It was really upsetting. I didn't know what to expect or what I should do next," said Barbour.

And after ten years at Qimonda, Maurice Briggs' last day was April 2.

"What am I gonna do next, especially in this area?" said Briggs.

This week, the answer to that question comes in an acronym: TAA or Trade Adjustment Assistance. It offers dollars for relocation, job search and training expenses. Many of these workers say the training could help them broaden the specialized skills they utilized at Qimonda.

"By me working in the manufacturing field and changing my career, it's been kind of difficult because I don't have that experience that they're looking for," said Barbour.

Others say they're willing to stay in manufacturing, but those jobs aren't available in Central Virginia and they can't pay to move.

"I'm pretty much living off my savings and my 401K to maintain a lifestyle that I had grown accustomed to and not go into a bad credit situation, where if I do move, I'm hurting," Briggs said.

Briggs was encouraged to find out TAA could pay up to 90% of moving expenses. It's just one piece of information helping the panic develop into a new line of thinking.

"We have to take it day by day and step by step," he said.

That next step in the process is one-on-one sessions with counselors. The VEC says counselors will be able to answer many of the additional questions laid off workers now have.

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