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Arkansas Workforce Center - Harrison

National Disaster Grants

Workforce Challenge

Between Spring 2008, and Fall 2009, the northwest area of Arkansas experienced two episodes of serious flooding along with a devastating ice storm, which prompted designation as a national disaster area. These natural events caused destruction to many rural towns and roads. The roads department of the counties and cities involved had much to do to repair the damaged roads and remove debris. They needed to hire temporary staff to assist, as current staffing levels were not enough.

Workforce Solution

When areas of the country are declared national disasters due to weather related incidents, Workforce centers are given the opportunity to apply for National Disaster Grants from the Department of Labor. The Arkansas Workforce Center in Harrison was a recipient of one of these grants, whose purpose is to assist qualified recipients with re-employment.

Nearly 300 men and women qualified as Dislocated Workers and were eligible for these grant funds. By partnering with counties and cities that were within the disaster area, the workforce center placed these 300 individuals in jobs where they worked with road and street crews to remove debris and repair damaged roads.

Outcomes & Benefits

The grants provided employment to many that were out of work and gave them a chance to gain work experience in many areas. Clean-up and repair to rural roads and city streets was completed much more quickly with the help of the grant workers. Approximately twenty five of the workers have been hired as full time employees with the various worksites. The supervisors of the road departments praise Arkansas Workforce for the outstanding job we did of finding qualified employees and furnishing their departments with much needed help.

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