Jefferson: NAFTA funds light up future for former millworkers

Ty Taylor is studying business administration.

Shyla Fristoe and Dawn Baril are in pre-nursing.

A Port Hadlock woman is commuting to Bremerton to take a radiology tech program at Olympic College.

Three people are going to truck-driving school in Tacoma, three are taking automotive tech training at Peninsula College, and two more are in the college’s computer course.

“Turning the light bulb back on” is how Shyla Fristoe of the Port Townsend Paper Transition Center describes the process that displaced workers are going through to make new lives for themselves after the Port Townsend Paper Corp. paper-bag plant closed in December.

The transition center on the second floor of the Frontier Bank building on Sims Way in Port Townsend has offered a variety of resources to help laid-off workers re-enter the job market since it opened Dec. 10.

Other workers are busy taking advantage of Trade Adjustment Assistance funds to retrain for new jobs. Those funds came available after the North American Free Trade Agreement-related assistance package was approved for workers around Christmas and only a few days before the bag plant closed.

The rest of this story appears in today’s Peninsula Daily News Jefferson County edition. Click on “Subscribe” to get the PDN delivered to your home or office.

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