[StBernard] Labor Department Receives $10.5 Million Grant to Provide Temporary Jobs, Employment Services to Disp

Westley Annis Westley at da-parish.com
Thu Nov 1 22:20:50 EDT 2007

Labor Department Receives $10.5 Million Grant to Provide Temporary Jobs, Employment Services to Displaced Workers

Funding will assist 3,500 residents

BATON ROUGE, La. (November 1, 2007) - The Louisiana Department of Labor has received a $10.5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Labor to assist 3,500 citizens in hurricane-affected parishes. LDOL requested the National Emergency Grant, which will allow the agency to continue serving those affected by hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

"There continues to be a tremendous need for debris removal and workforce training to restore communities throughout the affected area," said La. Dept. of Labor Assistant Secretary Bennett Soulier. "Having a skilled workforce is critical to Louisiana's recovery from hurricanes Katrina and Rita, and these additional funds will enable us to train up to 3,500 citizens in various recovery occupations."

The funds can be used to provide training and also to create temporary jobs for debris removal.

"By training workers and connecting them with jobs that benefit the recovery, this grant provides a much-needed means to help our displaced residents move back into their communities," Governor Kathleen Babineaux Blanco said. "My thanks to the U.S. Department of Labor for identifying and meeting this critical recovery need. Louisiana will make good use of these funds."

In addition to funding from the U.S. Department of Labor, Louisiana is addressing the state's labor shortage through its Recovery Workforce Training Program, which was designed by the Louisiana Recovery Authority in conjunction with the Office of Community Development and is funded by $38 million in Community Development Block Grants provided through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The RWTP was created to address shortages in key recovery sectors: oil and gas, healthcare, construction, advanced manufacturing, cultural economy and transportation. The RWTP, administered by the Louisiana Workforce Commission, is scheduled to train 7,000 workers over the next three years.

"Training workers is one of the best investments our state can make for its future, because it is an investment in the people of Louisiana," said Matt Stuller, chair of the LRA's Economic and Workforce Development Committee. "Highly skilled, wel! l-trained workers drive our recovery forward, and we are thankful that the U.S. Department of Labor continues to support our state through critical funding."

Parishes included in the grant are Calcasieu, Cameron, Jefferson, Jefferson Davis, Orleans, Plaquemines, St. Bernard, St. Charles, St. James, St. John the Baptist and St. Tammany.

Louisiana's Recovery Workforce Training Program is part of a broader economic recovery program developed by the LRA and implemented by its state agency partners, in this case the Louisiana Workforce Commission.

According to data from the Workforce Commission and the LRA, over the next three years there will be a demand for nearly 33,000 positions in the six industry sectors covered by the RWTP program.

Hurricanes Katrina and Rita devastated South Louisiana, claiming 1,464 lives, destroying more than 200,000 homes and 18,000 businesses. The Louisiana Recovery Authority (LRA) is the planning and coordinating body that was created in the aftermath of these storms by Governor Kathleen Babineaux Blanco to lead one of the most extensive rebuilding efforts in the world. The LRA is a 33-member body which is coordinating across jurisdictions, supporting community recovery and resurgence, ensuring integrity and effectiveness, and planning for the recovery and rebuilding of Louisiana.


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