Stimulus money is funding new jobs

 

Nearly 400 Richmond County teens will start summer jobs next week -- all thanks to stimulus money.

Meanwhile, state and local officials say some stimulus-funded options still exist for the Augusta area's unemployed or laid-off adults.

It's all part of a statewide plan to use more than $160 million in American Reinvestment and Recovery Act dollars through the Georgia Department of Human Services to employ a total of 20,000 Georgia teens and adults.

"We have a unique opportunity to put Georgians back to work, reinvigorate Georgia businesses and spark an economic recovery across our state," said Georgia DHS Commissioner B.J. Walker in a release. "While some states are using federal stimulus funds primarily for social services, we will use ours to put Georgians back to work."

The idea has been to have employers pledge jobs for prospective employees who apply for them through the stimulus-funded programs, which were announced in May. Dena Smith, the press secretary for DHS, said nearly 50,000 teens applied for 15,000 jobs. The application deadline for teens recently passed.

She said stimulus money will pay 100 percent of the salaries for the pledged teen jobs. As for the adult jobs, she said stimulus money will be used to offset 80 percent of their pay.

Al Chandler, deputy director of the Richmond-Burke Job Training Authority, said 384 Richmond County teens and nearly 100 Burke County teens ages 14 through 18 are getting jobs through the TeenWork Program this summer. He said the teens are going through training at Lucy Laney High School this week and will report to their employers next week.

Teens who qualified came from families in need, Chandler said, adding that their jobs will include clerical work, summer program counseling, being customer service representatives, maintenance and working in day care.

"It kind of covers the whole gamut," he said.

Smith said a total of 40 employers from Richmond County signed up to employ the teens.

Employers can still pledge summer jobs for adults at www.jobsforgeorgia.org, "which is really needed," Smith said. Prospective adult employees can apply for the pledged jobs at the same site.

Adults who are eligible must be U.S. citizens or legal immigrants; Georgia residents; have minor, dependent children living in their homes or be parents of minors who live with other parents or relatives; and have a gross monthly household income at or below 300 percent of the federal poverty level, which would be about $66,000 for a family of four.

Chandler said his office also still has stimulus money available through next year to provide job training for unemployed and laid-off adults.

"We're doing kind of a blitz to find people who are laid off," he said. "We've been trying to get the word out."

How to qualify

For more information, call the Georgia Department of Labor's Augusta office on Greene Street at (706) 721-3131.

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