Trade Act (TRA) Benefits

Trade Adjustment Assistance (Trade Act of 1974, As Amended)

The Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) program is a federal program established under the Trade Act of 1974, as amended. The TAA Program provides aid to workers who lose their jobs or whose hours of work and wages are reduced as a result of increased imports. TAA is the training portion and the Trade Readjustment Allowance (TRA) is the benefit that pays additional money after UI is exhausted.

The goal is to help such laid-off workers return to suitable employment as quickly as possible. TAA offers a variety of benefits and reemployment services to assist unemployed workers prepare for and obtain suitable employment. Workers may be eligible for training, job search and relocation allowances, income support and other reemployment services. 

Company officials may file a petition for certification as an affected employer or a petition may be filed by a group of three or more workers, by their union or other authorized representative. The U.S. Department of Labor in Washington, D.C., makes the final determination on certifications. Workers on whose behalf a petition is filed must be, or have been, employed regularly at the firm or subdivision identified in the petition. Workers employment must be, or have been, related to the production of articles (products) described in the petition.

The Virginia Employment Commission (VEC) administers this program through its Workforce Center network. For additional information or assistance, please contact the VEC Trade Act Unit in Richmond at 804-786-8825 or the nearest VEC Workforce Center.

Detailed information from the Department of Labor about TAA and TRA is available at:

Facts for Laurel Ridge CC Students

  1. TAA students must complete the bi-weekly forms provided by the VEC. 
    • These forms document attendance and progression in the classes.
    • Bring the forms to the Financial Aid Office to be completed, along with the signed class schedule for the previous two weeks.
  2. As long as a student has tuition, fees, etc. paid for by TAA, the student must fill out the bi-weekly forms and turn them in by the due date.
  3. A student may be on Unemployment Insurance (UI) and TAA at the same time. This means that the student is receiving bi-weekly benefits from UI and that tuition, fees, books and supplies are being paid by TAA.
  4. TRA may pay bi-weekly benefits when UI is exhausted.
  5. Students who receive the Pell Grant, SEOG, or Veterans benefits must report these funds to their VEC contact.
  6. Students must be attending school full-time (12 credits) every semester; including summer.
  7. TAA will only pay for those classes that are necessary for the chosen curriculum.
  8. TAA does place a limit on the amount of money available for each student for tuition, fees, books and supplies for the total time they attend college. TAA also places a limit on the length of time the student may be in training.

Contact the Financial Aid Office with additional questions.