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USDOL awards Territory $500K to continue NEG training

Half a million dollars have been awarded by the U.S. Department of Labor under its National Emergency Grant (NEG) supplement to continue re-employment and training services for workers who were hired on a temporary basis to help with cleanup and recovery efforts in American Samoa following the September 2009 tsunami that killed 34 residents.

The NEG is administered locally by the Department of Human Resources, whose director Evelyn Vaitautolu Langford told Samoa News that, “We are grateful to the US Department of Labor and specifically the staff at the Office of National Response and Region 6, Employment Training and Administration for their support and continued technical assistance.”

“The extension of the performance period and supplemental funding will enable support for program compliance and monitoring activities while ensuring relevant training and unsubsidized employment opportunities for the remaining participants of the program,” she said yesterday responding to Samoa News request for comments on the supplemental funding announced earlier in the day by the USDOL region office in San Francisco.

USDOL’s assistant secretary of labor for employment and training, Jane Oates said this additional NEG funding will enable American Samoa to continue providing training and re-employment services to the workers who assisted with the cleanup and recovery efforts after the worst disaster in American Samoa’s history.

““The services provided through this grant will help these hardworking individuals find permanent employment,” said Oates in a USDOL news release.

Following the disaster and based on a request by ASG, the USDOL approved a grant of up to $24,857,608 to DHR on Oct. 19, 2009, with $8,285,870 released initially, to fund temporary jobs for individuals to assist with cleanup and recovery efforts.

On April 21, 2010, incremental funding of $16,571,738 from the same grant was awarded to continue funding the temporary jobs as well as to provide workforce development services to the workers to help them transition to unsubsidized employment once the cleanup jobs ended. The jobs have now ended.

USDOL said the supplemental funding “to continue services brings the total funds awarded to date to $25,357,608”.

National Emergency Grants are part of the Secretary of Labor’s discretionary fund and are awarded based on a state or territory’s ability to meet specific guidelines, said USDOL.