National Dislocated Worker Grant Connects Employees with Flood Recovery Agencies
A grant from the US Department of Labor provides a chance for people to get back to work by placing long-term unemployed and dislocated workers with flood recovery agencies in the Midlands.
Recently, we reported on House in Box, a St. Vincent de Paul program that distributes furniture to families impacted by the October floods. House in a Box shares a warehouse in Columbia with the South Beltline-Gills Creek Community Relief Foundation, which provides household items to impacted families. In addition to regular staff and volunteers, the warehouse is run by a team of employees who are provided by a grant from the US Department of Labor. Midlands Workforce Development Board applied for the grant as soon as the October floods hit, foreseeing the need to place workers with flood recovery agencies. Tammy Beagan, Assistant Workforce Director, says the Board got official notice of the National Dislocated Worker Grant in January.
More About MWDB
The mission of the Midlands Workforce Development Board is getting people back to work. MWDB oversees the SC Works center in Richland, Lexington, and Fairfield counties and operates US Department of Labor employment and training programs. The main programs are part of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), a federal program which was signed into law by the President in 2014.
These programs include:
- WIOA Youth Program: for ages 16 to 24, to help them get on the path to work.
- WIOA Dislocated Worker Program: for people who have been laid-off from jobs through no fault of their own.
- WIOA Adult Program: for low-income adults seeking employment opportunities.
After the October floods, the state of South Carolina was awarded a National Dislocated Worker Grant from the Department of Labor. The purpose of the grant is to connect workers with flood-recovery employment positions. The grant had a few special qualifications: prospective employees had to be already enrolled in the Dislocated Worker program or long-term unemployed (21 weeks or more). The grant was also open to people who lost their jobs or businesses because of the October floods.
Tammy Beagan, Assistant Workforce Director with MWDB, says they started with those who were already enrolled in the WIOA Dislocated Worker program and the WIOA Adult program. While they did find a handful of people who were impacted by the flood, Beagan says most people who were laid off because of the flood were able to go back to work by January, when they received notice of the grant and began placing people. MWDB has place 27 employees so far, mainly with non-profits, with positions funded through October 4, 2016. MWDB has submitted a request to the Department of Labor to extend the grant as flood recovery continues.