Federal Grant Funds Earthquake Cleanup Jobs in Alaska

"It is critical that we focus on rebuilding our public infrastructure," Alaska Labor Commissioner Dr. Tamika Ledbetter said. "This funding supports our commitment to invest in employment opportunities for rebuilding our public facilities, roads, and schools and provides opportunities for workers to gain transferable skills."

The U.S. Department of Labor has awarded up to $4.5 million in disaster funding to the Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development for temporary jobs to assist with the cleanup, repair, and reconstruction of public structures and facilities damaged by the Nov. 30, 2018, magnitude 7.0 earthquake centered near Anchorage. The Alaska department announced the grant Jan. 14.

Disaster Dislocated Worker funds are discretionary grants the U.S. secretary of Labor awards under the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act. They fund temporary employment opportunities in cleanup, recovery, and humanitarian efforts when the Federal Emergency Management Agency declares a disaster-affected area eligible for public assistance; the money also can be used to provide training and support services to workers who lost their jobs due to the disaster.

"It is critical that we focus on rebuilding our public infrastructure," Alaska Labor Commissioner Dr. Tamika Ledbetter said. "This funding supports our commitment to invest in employment opportunities for rebuilding our public facilities, roads, and schools and provides opportunities for workers to gain transferable skills, making it possible to move into permanent, self-sustaining employment. These efforts support our community as they recover and become even better prepared for the future."

According to the U.S. Geological Survey, since the devastating 1964 earthquake, Alaska has experienced 144 quakes with magnitude of 6.0 or greater.

The Alaska department will coordinate grant funds with local staffing agencies and contractors to employ temporary workers for cleanup and repair at public and private nonprofit facilities. Due to extreme temperatures in winter, cleanup and restoration will likely be significantly higher in the spring and summer as weather permits.

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