Walden Announces $230,000 federal investment for Laid-off Klamath Falls Workers

Department of Labor award to supplement last fall’s investment of emergency funds to retrain workers affected by downsizing of Sykes Enterprises

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Congressman Greg Walden (R-OR) today announced a $230,176 National Emergency Grant by the U.S. Department of Labor to retrain local employees displaced by downsizing of the Sykes Enterprises call center in Klamath Falls.  The award came after the Klamath-Lake Employment Training Institute, Inc. applied for supplemental funds to help the approximately 33 additional employees laid off since the original investment of $1.1 million was awarded last fall.


Walden applauded the announcement by the Department of Labor.  “This additional investment is wonderful news for the hard-working men and women affected by the downsizing at Sykes Enterprises,” he said.  “Oregon has had the unfortunate distinction of remaining near the highest unemployment in the nation and, when companies are forced to lay-off additional individuals, we have to do everything we can to train and prepare those workers for reentry into the job market.  No issue is more important to me than making sure the people I represent have jobs, and organizations like the Klamath-Lake Employment Training Institute help make that a reality.  I would like to thank President Bush and Secretary Chao for their continued commitment to the families of Klamath Falls and Oregon’s economic health.”


Walden was active in securing initial funding for this effort last fall and continues to remain supportive of the impacted families and the organizations working hard to help them.  In an October 9, 2003 letter to the Department of Labor, Walden wrote, “The Klamath Basin is still recovering from a devastating economic blow sustained in 2001 when the irrigation water was shut off to almost 200,000 acres of farmland.  The direct impact of that event on the farmers and ancillary businesses is still being felt today.  The layoff at Sykes certainly compounds the damage already sustained.  Klamath-Lake Employment Training Institute demonstrated in that time of crisis that it could effectively respond to a serious situation with professionalism and dispatch.  I am confident that they will achieve significant results when this grant application is approved.”


The Oregon State Board of Education, Department of Community Colleges and Workforce Development will administer this grant.  The funds will provide employment-related assistance such as assessment, career planning, employment development, remedial education, classroom training, job training, relocation assistance, on-the-job training and support services.


Walden will be in Klamath Falls on Tuesday, August 17 to visit with the Klamath Falls Kiwanis Club, tour the Cascades East Residency Program and deliver the keynote address at the grand opening ceremony of the Klamath Open Door Family Practice.  This will be Walden’s 34th visit to the Klamath Basin and 213th roundtrip between the Second District and Washington, D.C. since taking office five and a half years ago.


Congressman Walden represents the Second Congressional District of Oregon, which includes the 20 counties of central, southern and eastern Oregon.  He is a Deputy Whip in the House leadership structure and member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee and the House Committee on Resources.