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Recovery in Action: Re-training Auto Workers and Creating Jobs

Recovery Act funds continued to roll out this week, financing the re-training of displaced automotive workers and creating jobs across the country. In Missouri, the Executive Director of the White House Council on Auto Communities and Workers announced the availability of $25 million to re-train former automotive workers:
"America’s auto workers have sacrificed so much during this economic downturn, and it’s our responsibility to stand with them during these difficult times. These grants help those workers who have been displaced learn new skills in these high growth and emerging industries and get support in finding where these new jobs are."
This week has also seen the beginning of dozens of projects funded by the Recovery Act that not only create jobs, but help make us a stronger country in the long haul. As detailed in the following press clips, Americans young and old are finding employment thanks to the Recovery Act doing work ranging from helping the elderly to contributing to the creation of a new clean energy economy:
Students employed by Helping Hands "A nonprofit organization that has had to cut back in these economic times received help improving client services, thanks to the federal stimulus. Greater Foothills Helping Hands, which provides volunteers to perform domestic chores for the elderly and disabled, received a hand up this summer when Arizona Western College in conjunction with Yuma Private Industry Council provided employment for 80 Yuma high school students, through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). Judy Arnold, Helping Hands executive director, said the students did a phenomenal job with yard work and it was a total blessing to have them. ‘A lot of our care receivers can't afford this,’ Arnold said. ‘The work wouldn't have gotten done if it wasn't for the students.’ For the previous two weeks, two teams of 40 students each split up into crews of 10 and were dispatched to Foothills residents too frail to accomplish yard work on their own. Some of the tasks must be done to comply with city ordinances and students save residents not only work but possible fines, Rudy Rodriguez, AWC's ARRA coordinator, said. . . . Evarist Santiago, 17, a Vista High School senior, said he enjoys arranging help for the elderly to move furniture, schedule rides for doctor appointments or grocery shopping but also doing data entry of care receivers' birthdays so Helping Hands can remember them on that special day.   ‘I'd recommend ARRA to other students because I learned a lot here. I haven't got a job for the fall but an office job would be a good one to have.’ Arnold noted students were considerate and willing to help. ‘I think the program was such a positive plus for everyone involved. We're certainly thankful we're able to have them participate.’"
Youth workforce program: Teens work at Norfolk School during summer "When students return to Norfork School in August, they'll find it extra shiny and clean thanks to seven of their schoolmates. As part of the Arkansas Summer Youth Workforce program, Ethan Barnes, Megan Cain, Dalton Davis and Anthony King, all 17, Wade Staton and Chase Loosey, 16, and Lindsay Teegarden, 15, are each putting in 200 hours this summer helping to move library books, furniture and school supplies, and helping custodians clean every surface. Barnes has painted miles of baseboards and door trim. ‘He's an excellent painter,’ said Norfork High School Principal Bobby Hulse. ‘You won't find a smudge anywhere.’ The program, previously part of the Jobs Training Partnership Act and the Comprehensive Employment and Training Act, received a boost in funding this year from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, according to Tina Hopkins, employment and training adviser at the Arkansas Workforce Center in Mountain Home. ‘In previous years, we've had 30 to 40 participants in Baxter and Marion counties,’ Hopkins said. ‘This year, because of stimulus dollars, we increased the eligibility age to 24, and we have 80 participants.’ Hopkins, 29, asks each applicant what job they would like if they could have any job at all. Two girls expressed interest in hair. Hopkins found one of the girls a job at a beauty school. The other is working in a salon."
Colorado gets $19.6 million stimulus "With the approval of Colorado's plan for renewable-energy and efficiency projects, the state is receiving $19.6 million in federal economic-stimulus money.  The funding, announced Monday by the U.S. Department of Energy, is part of a total of $49 million for energy projects Colorado is eligible for under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.  ‘What we are trying to do is not just one-time projects,’ said Todd Hartman, spokesman for the Governor's Energy Office. ‘We want to use the funds to build up infrastructure for energy efficiency and renewables.’  The programs include financial incentives to builders to promote energy efficiency in new-home construction and to homeowners for energy efficiency in existing homes.  Another program would provide increased rebates for installing solar and wind systems.  There is also a revolving loan program and a financing program to help with business and residential energy investment.  ‘It's a very innovative plan,’ said Howard Geller, executive director of the Southwest Energy Efficiency Project, a nonprofit energy-advocacy group based in Boulder."
State has $15 million in federal funds to help small manufacturers diversify"The state has $15 million in federal stimulus funds to help small Michigan manufacturing companies diversify into renewable energy technologies.  The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funding, announced Monday by Gov. Jennifer Granholm, targets investments in advanced manufacturing of renewable energy systems and wind turbine systems, solar technologies, bio-energy equipment and geothermal heating and cooling systems.  The goal of the funding is to create new markets for Michigan manufacturers, provide support to renewable energy original equipment manufacturers and tier-one suppliers, and create anchor companies that attract other businesses to Michigan.  The state plans to award grants, loans, or a combination of the two, according to a request for proposals issued by the Michigan Department of Energy, Labor & Economic Growth's Bureau of Energy Systems.  For-profit manufacturing businesses located in Michigan with 500 or fewer full-time or equivalent employees are eligible. A business that relocates to Michigan by the time of an award also will be considered eligible.  The RFP says preference will be given to companies that demonstrate a 50 percent cost share of the total allowable project costs, although cost sharing is not applicable to companies that are approved to receive a revolving loan."
Stimulus funding helps teenagers land jobs "The heat was a bit of a surprise Monday afternoon. The sun isn’t blaring, but the humidity was enough to make anyone working outside wince. Cody Shoe maneuvered a riding lawnmower in the muggy air. He was grooming the campus of Stanly Community College. Shoe’s been on the job for about four weeks. ‘It seems like an easy job until you really get in there and do it and then you realize how difficult these people have it,’ Shoe said. Shoe is one of 40 Stanly County teenagers working this summer because of funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, better known as the stimulus package. More than $1 billion was set aside from the package to be invested in youth employment. North Carolina is getting about $25 million of the money and Stanly County received $40,000. Those funds will pay for 40 teenagers to work 20 hours a week for six weeks at $7.25 an hour. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor statistics released in June, the country is experiencing the lowest rate of young men ages 16 to 19 working since 1948. That worries community leaders like David Dutton, who knows hands-on work experience is what helps young people land jobs. ‘When you talk to these young people you will discover, they're not working to buy toys, they're not working to buy things of that nature. Almost every youth that I've talked to is working to help their family,’ said Dutton who runs the Resource Development Center. His organization is handling the Stanly County youth employment stimulus funds. Dutton matched the teens with companies and jobs. Shoe will be a senior this fall. He’s attending Stanly Early College, which will help him get his associate’s degree by the end of next year for free. The teenager juggles school, work and caring for siblings to help out his parents."
Stimulus money goes to workforce development "The Southern Alleghenies Workforce Investment Board has received more than $3.7 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funding to enhance and expand its existing support of workforce development services throughout Bedford, Blair, Cambria, Fulton, Huntingdon and Somerset counties. The money is being directed toward paid summer work for youth ages 14 to 24, financial support in the form of tuition assistance and supportive services for eligible adults and displaced workers. Investment board Director Susan Whisler said the board's goal is to direct the funds to help those most in need of workforce-related assistance. ‘Our goal is to offer an outstanding paid work experience program to over 400 young people this summer; quadruple the number we normally serve each year,’ Whisler said in a prepared statement. ‘We can provide up to $10,000 to help offset the cost of training for eligible individuals, and we can also provide assistance with childcare and transportation for those in training.’"