By Steven Tavares
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The Fremont Nummi plant was reborn as Tesla Motors’
headquarters, but thousands of former employees still feel
the bite of the poor economy.

A second installment of unemployment benefits is on the way for over 4,500 former Nummi employees.

U.S. Labor Secretary Hilda Solis and Rep. Pete Stark announced $7.9 million in assistance to help workers retrain and educate for re-entry into the workforce. The first installment of $11 million released last year helped tack an additional year of unemployment benefits for workers at the former joint partnership of Toyota and General Motors.

“It has been more than a year since the Nummu plant’s closing and unemployment is still unacceptably high,” said Stark. “In this difficult economy, I am committed to creating jobs and providing the assistance that laid off workers need to hone their skills and remain competitive.”

The Emergency Grant by the U.S. Labor Department will be used to continue training of the highly-trained former auto workers along with work guidance, resume training and job search skills.

The closure of Nummi not only gave thousands of South Bay workers a jolt from the poor economy but also stifled dozens of local subcontractors who did business with the auto plant. Similar to the Fremont plant’s closure by GM in 1982, the property did not sit unoccupied for long. Last year, the upstart Tesla Motors bought the part of the plant to ramp up production of two electric vehicle and bringing back roughly a quarter of the workforce.