Feds give $50M in aid to towns hit by auto layoffs... DAYTON, Ohio (AP) -- The federal government will give car-manufacturing communities $50 million in grants to train laid-off workers for jobs in the energy efficiency and renewable energy sectors, the White House's auto recovery leader said Thursday. The funds also will provide job counseling and placement services. "American workers are the best in the world, and they have been hard hit by changes in the auto industry," said Ed Montgomery, President Barack Obama's director of recovery for auto communities and workers. "This funding will help workers gain new skill sets that build upon their manufacturing experience." The $50 million is part of $500 million provided by the federal stimulus law. To qualify for the money, a community must have a motor vehicle manufacturer or supplier and have experienced significant layoffs. Details of the program, including application deadlines, are expected to be released next month. Dan Brockman, who retired from his job at a General Motors Co. brake plant in Dayton in 2007 after learning the plant would close, applauded the federal assistance and said he might be one of the workers helped by it. "We need livable-wage jobs around here," said Brockman, 58, of suburban Miamisburg. "We can make wind turbines here. We can make solar panels. We've got manufacturing know-how. Everybody's struggling, looking for a job." Montgomery is touring Ohio, with stops in Dayton and Toledo on Thursday and in Twinsburg in northeast Ohio on Friday. He is scheduled to tour a Chrysler assembly plant in Toledo. In Twinsburg, he is to meet with autoworkers from a Chrysler plant that is slated to close. "This is a critical step toward getting victims of the national recession back to work in high-growth industries," Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland said of the stimulus money. "We are grateful that the Obama administration recognizes the importance of investing in today's work force to better prepare them for the jobs of the future."