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Stimulus jobs still available

Friday, July 2, 2010

Dozens of federal stimulus jobs remain available through the Marshall County Recovery Program managed by Tennessee's Career Center at the Columbia State Community College campus in Lewisburg.

That's according to a recent tally from Tia Anderson, manager of the program. Paige Liggett, spokeswoman for the South Central Tennessee Workforce Board based in Columbia interpreted some of the recent statistics.

"Total jobs we can fill - 62," Anderson reported.

Fifty-one of those jobs could be with any of the 87 private or local government employers who have signed on to the program. As of Friday last week, 66 employers have been paid for those employees, according to Anderson's chart. Thirty-nine of the jobs are with the Tennessee Department of Transportation. TDOT has 11 jobs open to Marshall County residents.

To land one of these jobs, an applicant must have a juvenile child living in their home. It's a requirement that stems from the funding being channeled through the Department of Hunan Resources.

Gov. Phil Bredesen allocated $3 million to help Marshall County residents because of the high unemployment rate here. It's been up to 20.3 percent, or more than one out of every five people were jobless that month. In May it was 16.7 percent, down from 17.3 percent in April. But it's still second highest in the state and has been at that ranking since the county's joblessness placed Marshall highest in Tennessee for three months in a row.

That bleak economic picture is why Bredesen sent federal stimulus here. The money is from ARRA, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of Congress.

Reimbursements for stimulus workers was $53,600 during the last full week of June, Anderson's report shows. That brought the total to $318,550 in wages and benefits paid in Marshall County since the program began this spring.

The money has been described by local economic developers as a shot in the arm for the local economy since it's money applied directly where people need it for household spending that helps local businesses.

The report is not all sweetness and light as it also tracks what are labeled "terminations" and "separations."

For example, there have been 56 "terminations" since the program started and that's out of 155 "placements" of applicants in jobs. Statistically, 56 is about one third of 155, or more precisely, 36.13 percent.

However, Liggett explained this week, "Separations/Terminations does not necessarily mean that the person was fired."

"For simplicity," the Workforce Board spokeswoman explained, "Tia (Anderson) has it that way on the report."

Anderson has a more detailed report for internal purposes, Liggett said.

"'Termination' is a program ... term," she said. "Separations" would be more accurate.

Here is the breakdown for the 56 separations as of June 25 for the Marshall County Recovery Program:

* 13 changed their job site within the recovery program.

* Five employees found permanent employment outside of program.

* Two employees relocated to another geographic area.

* One employee went back to school.

* Four were with an employer who is no longer participating in the program.

* One employee quit.

* 37 employees failed to meet the employer's expectations.

"It is not as clear cut to say they are all simply leaving the program," Liggett said. "Some are moving around in the program or have left for good reason... In comparison with the national numbers...our program numbers are much better."

During May, Marshall County had a labor force of 12,110 people. Of those, 10,090 were employed and 2,020 were unemployed. That resulted in an unemployment rate of 16.7 percent.

This week, the Workforce Alliance says to employers who have not participated, but who are interested in participating, in the Marshall County Recovery Program: "It is not too late to receive a subsidized employee."

It has helped small business owners and can provide employees, the Alliance said, offering an example.

"Getting the two additional employees has really given our business a boost," Bobby and Louise Wolaver of Hazelburn Golf Course said in a joint statement. "There's no way we could have hired them without this program."

More information on how a business can hire subsidized employees through the Marshall County Recovery Program is available from Stephen Webb at 931-490-3809 or stephen.webb@sctworkforce.org.

Meanwhile, another grant is funding jobs for people to help Middle Tennessee recover from the May 1-2 floods.

In the eight-county area there are 67 positions to be filled, according to Liggett. There have been 23 applicants from Marshall County and Workforce Alliance employees are "working as fast as they can on the applications to see who is eligible."

Twenty people from the eight counties including Marshall have landed jobs and started work.

"All of the jobs are in Maury, Hickman and Perry counties," Liggett said. "Jobs range from administration, to dispatcher, utility worker, general laborer, truck driver, and maintenance.

"It's not too late to apply," she said.

Jobseekers must be one of the following to be eligible for employment under this grant:

* An individual who has been unemployed for at least the last six months;

* Someone who's been unemployed because of no fault of their own; and

* People who have temporarily or permanently lost their job as a result of the flood disaster.

Eligible jobseekers should apply in person at the Tennessee Career Center in Lewisburg, 980 South Ellington Parkway - in the Columbia State Community College building. For more information call 359-9726.



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