Employing the Unemployed After A Disaster

U.S. Department of Labor grants help fund efforts like the Missouri Disaster Recovery Jobs Program, which provides temp jobs to those unemployed due to tornadoes and floods.
by | July 11, 2011 AT 1:00 PM

When struck by a natural disaster, everything can be gone within seconds -- jobs included. To get more people back to work, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon, the state's Division of Workforce Development, regional Workforce Investment Boards and local governments are working together to provide temp jobs for unemployed residents affected by recent natural disasters in the southern part of the state. With almost $6 million in funding from the U.S. Department of Labor, the Missouri Disaster Recovery Jobs Program is creating 400 disaster cleanup and humanitarian jobs, performing such tasks as removing debris and providing child care  for tornado victims. Participants earn wages based on job requirements and experience; in Joplin, participants could expect to earn $10.36 an hour. The hope is that after six months, participants will "go to work with the many, many, many contractors down there in various areas of restoration, rebuilding and construction," Missouri's Division of Workforce Development Director Julie Gibson told Governing. She says that over 500 people have gone through orientations and are eligible to go through a screening process, which includes a physical and drug test. According to Gov. Jay Nixon's release, nearly 60 people have been put to work since the program's start in June. Missouri's program has since been awarded an additional $14 million by DOL to provide 130 more jobs in Joplin and to set up over 300 jobs in flooded southeast Missouri. Gibson expects to start filling these positions in the next couple of weeks. Since June, the Department of Labor has awarded grants to Massachusetts, Illinois and Vermont for similar disaster recovery job efforts.

Tina Trenkner
Tina Trenkner | Deputy Editor, GOVERNING.com | ttrenkner@governing.com  |  @tinatrenkner