Initial Implementation of the Trade Act of 2002: A Report Prepared as Part of the Evaluation of the Trade Adjustment Assistance Program
Social Policy Research Associates
The Trade Act of 2002 significantly amended the Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) program which provides extensive training and benefits to dislocated workers certified as trade-affected. The Act created a single program (repealing the North American Free Trade Agreement-TAA program), mandated that certification of workers' petitions occur in 40 (down from 60) days by the U.S. Department of Labor, and instituted new deadlines for enrolling in training by 8 weeks after certification or 16 weeks after job separation. Among other changes, the law also opened eligibility to secondary workers, offered a tax credit to partially cover health insurance, created the Alternative TAA (ATAA) program to provide compensation to older participants who obtain lower-paid work but no training. To understand the issues and challenges in implementing the Trade Act of 2002, site visits were conducted in May and June of 2004 in 12 state agencies (selected randomly proportionate to size of states' TAA activity) and in 12 local offices. This report is part of a longer-term project to conduct a national net-impact evaluation of the Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) program.