The U.S. Department of Labor has announced that it is allocating funds to Orem's Signetics Inc. to aid laid-off workers.

Dan Hughes, Signetics human resource manager, said this is the third year the company, which manufactures computer chips, has been eligible to have employees who are laid off receive funding.It is a protection program for the company's workers, he said. "We tell all our employees who get laid off that they can apply for this money."

The $271,000 allocated for 1991, which is called "trade adjustment assistance," is to help companies that are affected by the influx of foreign products.

"We just let the Japanese get ahead of us, and we have to catch up," Hughes said.

Signetics site manager Neil Bullock said this money will help those employees who have lost their jobs or who have chosen to leave to find other employment.

About 50 former workers of Signetics are eligible for the assistance, which includes weekly trade readjustment allowances as well as training, educational, job search and relocation allowances.

The funding covers workers laid off on or after May 20, 1988, and before Aug. 8, 1991, who worked at Signetics for at least six months of the year before the layoff.

According to Hughes, Signetics must apply every three years to maintain eligibility for the funding.

"We will apply again," he said. The computer chip industry is on the list of companies that have been hurt by foreign imports.

Bullock said the company goes through a regular schedule of layoffs each year during October, November and December of 100 to 150 of its approximately 1,100 employees.

"When the schedule drops back we usually have enough volunteers to cover the change," Bullock said.

Some people may ask why employees will volunteer to leave, he said. The reason is most of them are students or spouses of students and Signetics will continue to pay their benefits while they still collect an unemployment check.

Hughes said Signetics called seven employees back during the last week in January and more should come back in the near future.

Workers who are interested in applying for the Trade Adjustment Assistance benefits should contact the Provo Job Service Office at 373-7500.