La. Dept. of Labor Gets $10.5 Million to Help with Hurricane Recovery

November 6, 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, the agency reported. 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 new state Labor 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.

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.

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.

Governor Kathleen Babineaux Blanco named Bennett J. Soulier as secretary of the Louisiana Department of Labor, effective Nov. 1. The former secretary, John Warner Smith, accepted a position as chief executive officer of Next Horizon. Soulier previously was the assistant secretary for the Labor Department’s Office of Workforce Development.

Source: Louisiana Department of Labor

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