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Depot leases second building as job center

June 01, 1998|By DON AINES

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - The Franklin-Adams Employment and Training Consortium will lease a second building at Letterkenny Army Depot to help more than 600 workers who face job loss through downsizing over the next two years.

The Letterkenny Industrial Development Authority on Monday approved the one-year lease, with options for two additional years. Consortium Executive Director David Bumbaugh said the consortium will pay the authority about $36,000 a year to rent Building 416.

Bumbaugh said the consortium already uses an adjacent building, which the Army gave it rent-free. The new building is on a parcel scheduled to be turned over to the authority.

According to Bumbaugh, Building 416 will house a computer lab and a distance learning center, along with office space. The number of consortium employees will increase from four to six when the building is occupied next month.

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The Army has three peer counselors on assignment, Bumbaugh said. They are federal employees who have lost their jobs to downsizing and help other dislocated workers with assessment and job placement services, he said.

The expansion of consortium services at the depot is being paid for with $3.2 million this year and in 1999 from the Letterkenny Defense Conversion Adjustment Program. The Department of Defense program was designed specifically for dislocated Letterkenny employees.

Bumbaugh said 674 federal employees are expected to lose their jobs at the depot and related activities in the two-year period. So far this year, 105 employees have entered the program, he said.

Bumbaugh said the next big reduction - approximately 150 jobs - is expected in the fall with the closure of the Defense Logistics Agency. About 1,800 people work at the depot.

Depot employees can use consortium services up to two years prior to their termination dates, according to Bumbaugh. The program's budget allocates approximately $5,000 in services to workers.

The Development Authority also gave Executive Director Pam Gaudiose authority Monday to go after about $2 million in federal and state subsidies for improvements to roads, sewer, water and other utilities.

The authority will seek $1.5 million from the U.S. Commerce Department's Economic Development Administration and $437,000 from Pennsylvania's Infrastructure Development Fund. The authority gave Gaudiose the OK to borrow $57,000 for the local match.

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