WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Labor today announced a $2,131,425 National Emergency Grant supplemental award to provide training and other re-employment services to oystermen to prepare for careers in other industries. Workers eligible for these services are those who participated in the temporary jobs component of this emergency grant, which was provided in the aftermath of Tropical Storm Debby in June 2012. These supplementary funds are being awarded to the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity and will provide re-employment services for approximately 94 of the temporary workers.
"During the cleanup and restoration phase of this Tropical Storm Debby grant, it became apparent that the future of oyster harvesting in the Apalachicola Bay is uncertain," said U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez. "This additional funding from the Labor Department will provide retraining so members of this community can obtain employment in the job sectors of the future."
On July 3, 2012, the Federal Emergency Management Agency declared several counties in the state of Florida as eligible for FEMA's Public Assistance Program, and the state focused the recovery efforts in Franklin County. Subsequent to that declaration, funding was approved on July 23, 2012, in the amount of $256,953. On Nov. 30, 2012, supplemental funding of up to $2,699,712, with $1,238,570 released initially, was approved. On June 19, 2013, incremental funding of $1,461,142 was approved to complete the cleanup and recovery efforts. Today's approval of up to $2,131,425, with $1,591,463 released initially, will enable the former temporary job participants to begin training and re-employment services to begin new careers. Total funds awarded for this project are now $4,548,128. Additional funding, up to the amount approved, will be made available as Florida demonstrates a continued need for assistance.
National Emergency Grants are part of the secretary of labor's discretionary fund and are awarded based on a state's ability to meet specific guidelines.