DOL seeks $6M grant to help displaced workers

Workers who lost jobs can apply for WIA’s dislocated worker program

The CNMI Department of Labor has applied for a $6-million grant that it will use to help workers who have been affected or displaced by Typhoon Soudelor.

“Normally when there’s a natural disaster and there is a FEMA declaration and the presidential disaster declaration, the state Workforce Investment Agency submits an application called National Dislocated Worker Grant. Primarily it’s to help people who are affected by the storm, who lost their jobs and got displaced by the storm,” Labor Secretary Edith DeLeon Guerrero told Saipan Tribune.

According to her, they already submitted an “initial skeleton application” asking for $6 million.

“I’m really hopeful that everything gets approved. If not, then maybe some parts of that application,” DeLeon Guerrero said.

If approved, DOL will be able to recruit up to 300 temporary workers not only on Saipan but on Tinian and Rota as well.

Under this program, those who lost their jobs can come in and work because they are considered dislocated or displaced by the storm.

Aside from being able to hire, the grant can also be used to purchase tools and protective gear for the would-be workers.

However, residents who lost their jobs or who are currently unemployed because of the disaster need not wait for the approval of the grant to get some assistance.

One of the funding streams that the Workforce Investment Agency has every year is the dislocated worker program that isn’t necessarily just for workers who lost their jobs because of the typhoon, but they can apply for it just the same.

“If there’s anybody out there that got affected by the storm…go ahead and come in and apply for the WIA services under the dislocated program,” DeLeon Guerrero said.

Those who are interested can look for the information posted on the WIA website, or call WIA at 664-1708/57/05.

DOL is also working with the U.S. Department of Labor Employment & Training Administration-San Francisco and the Federal Emergency Management Agency for the Disaster Unemployment Assistance

“There’s no official press release yet out, so there are a lot of things that are still being worked on,” DeLeon Guerrero said.

FEMA seeking local hires

FEMA also partnered with the CNMI DOL to recruit and screen individuals to work in various positions to assist in disaster recovery.

“FEMA routinely offers employment to residents in disaster areas to support the local economy and provide jobs to those who may have lost employment due to the event,” a FEMA statement said.

FEMA said temporary, full-time positions are available locally for areas such as administration, accounting, engineering, courier, writing and public information, and television/radio broadcast production, planning, individual disaster assistance and logistics. Posted hourly salaries vary from $11 to $41 depending on the position.

Applicants must be U.S. citizens and are 18 years of age or older. Individuals will be required to pass a background investigation that includes fingerprinting and credit check.

Aside from the WIA website, job descriptions are also available at CNMI residents may apply at e-mail:

Frauleine S. Villanueva-Dizon | Reporter
Frauleine Michelle S. Villanueva was a broadcast news producer in the Philippines before moving to the CNMI to pursue becoming a print journalist. She is interested in weather and environmental reporting but is an all-around writer. She graduated cum laude from the University of Santo Tomas with a degree in Journalism and was a sportswriter in the student publication.

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