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State establishes 400 temp jobs in Joplin

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In Joplin yesterday, Gov. Jay Nixon laid out a program that will create more than 400 temporary jobs for workers left unemployed by the May 22 EF-5 tornado.

The Missouri Disaster Recovery Jobs Program will be funded through the U.S. Department of Labor's Workforce Investment Act with an initial investment of $5.8 million, according to a news release from the governor's office.

Temporary workers would assist in cleanup and humanitarian efforts, such as clearing and removing debris, in Jasper and Newton counties. Nixon said the program is a key step toward rebuilding Joplin.

"Putting folks back to work is a vital part of that process," he said in the release. "This investment will ... give us additional manpower to augment the efforts of the National Guard and expedite the cleanup process."

The Missouri National Guard, which was designated the point agency for Joplin area debris removal and clearance, will work with the Division of Workforce Development and the Workforce Investment Board of Southwest Missouri for job opportunities and placement.

The two work force agencies will manage the application, recruitment and placement process through the Joplin Career Center, 730 S. Wall Ave., which can be contacted at (417) 629-3000.

Workers would be compensated based on individual job requirements and skills, according to the release. All unemployed workers can apply for the temporary jobs, but first preference would be given to those who lost their jobs because of the tornado.

Jasen Jones, executive director of the Workforce Investment Board of Southwest Missouri, said in a phone interview that the temporary jobs would provide necessary assistance in the city, where an estimated 4,000 to 9,000 jobs have been lost. He noted that the U.S. Department of Labor has indicated more money could be sent to Joplin through the Workforce Investment Act.

"We anticipate that there will be more on the way assuming that the need is there, and we think it is, obviously," Jones said.

In the meantime, Jones encourages those who lost jobs due to the tornado to do two things: file an unemployment application with the Missouri Department of Labor and file an application with the Workforce Investment Board.

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