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Sojourners to employ 127 temporary workers

October 10, 2011

A National Emergency Grant will provide 127 new temporary jobs in Hocking, Ross, and Vinton counties to assist with clean-up activities after the severe flooding in the spring.

The WIA Region 20 Workforce Investment Board has received the $2.4 million grant and has contracted with Sojourners Care Network, a nonprofit organization headquartered in McArthur, to implement the program.

“Hocking, Ross, and Vinton counties are excited about the opportunity to employ so many people in these short-term jobs.  Our counties will certainly benefit from their work cleaning up the damage to our water ways from last spring’s storms,” said Jody Walker, director of the Vinton County Department of Jobs and Family Services.

National Emergency Grants are discretionary dollars awarded by the Department of Labor to temporarily expand employment services in a state or local area in response to significant events that cause a sudden need for increased service levels. The primary purpose of a disaster project is to create temporary employment to assist with clean-up activities.

This past spring, Athens, Belmont, Gallia, Guernsey, Hocking, Jackson, Jefferson, Lawrence, Meigs, Monroe, Morgan, Ross, Scioto, Vinton and Washington counties sustained heavy damage from severe storms and flooding. Roadways were blocked with fallen trees, and debris was left clogging streams and rivers, creating the potential for additional flooding.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency surveyed the damage and approved the affected counties for public assistance. The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services then applied for a disaster grant to aid in the clean-up and removal of debris for the affected counties. In August 2011, Job and Family Services was awarded a disaster grant for up to $16.2 million to enable clean-up and debris removal in the affected counties.

The Sojourners National Emergency Grant Program will hire 115 dislocated workers, displaced homemakers and long-term unemployed men and women 18 years of age and over, who will work for six months or 1,040 hours, whichever is longer. Crew members will make $10.70 an hour. A site coordinator and several crew leaders will also be hired.

The program will provide 119,600 hours of disaster recovery in Hocking, Ross, and Vinton counties by removing debris from roads, creek streams and other waterways  and demolition, reconstruction, or repair of damaged public structures, facilities or lands.

Sojourners collaborated with local Ohio Departments of Job and Family Services, local Ohio Emergency Management Agencies and the Federal Emergency Management Agency to identify and prioritize work sites throughout the three counties.

Sojourners will work with the One Stop Centers in Hocking, Ross, and Vinton counties to identify potential employees. Employees must be able to work in all kinds of weather, be physically fit and drug free.

A recruitment event will be held from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 13, at the Vinton County One-Stop Employment Training Center, during which potential employees will complete necessary employment paperwork, interview with program staff and be given drug screenings. Recruitment events also will be held in Hocking County from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday, and in Ross County from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesday. All applicants must be cleared through Job and Family Services of the appropriate county.

Interested applicants should visit the training center, 30975 Industrial Park Road, McArthur,  before the recruitment event to apply.

For more information, call 740-596-2584.

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