News Article

Sandy Cleanup Jobs For Long-Term Unemployed

By Phil Gregory, WBGO News
Trenton. March 18, 2013

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Labor Commissioner Hal Wirths (photo by Phil Gregory)

About 700 long-term unemployed New Jersey residents are working again.

They’re now in temporary jobs helping with the cleanup from Hurricane Sandy.

Labor Commissioner Hal Wirths says a $15 million emergency grant from the federal government is funding the program that pays the workers to remove debris, rebuild dunes, and get parks back in shape.

““It’s people that really were chomping at the bit to get back to work in all walks of  life from I-T workers to carpenters to every job imaginable. They’re so grateful that they have jobs, and I’m hoping some of those jobs will lead to permanent jobs. Some of the towns have expressed possible interest in bringing these folks on afterwards, picking some of the hardest workers.”

The workers are getting about 12-thousand-dollar spread over six months.

Towns and counties where they’re employed are reimbursed four-thousand-dollars for fringe benefits.

Wirths anticipates the program will be expanded to about a thousand jobs and hopes it can be extended.

“The feds have said to me as we get up to about 75 percent of expenditures we can also apply for additional funding. So we’re hoping to keep the project going for quite some time.”

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