The federal government has awarded Missouri a $1.3 million grant to create temporary humanitarian jobs supporting the fight against the coronavirus. Dr. Mardy Leathers, the director of the state’s Office of Workforce Development, tells Missourinet the grant makes way for 30 temporary positions and training for another 70 Missourians.
“The kind of training that it will be supportive of this type of work,” says Leathers.
He says the jobs are expected to last about six months and pay around $20,000.
“So, if there’s some warehousing and logistics training, if there is OSHA training – Occupational Safety training – there will be opportunities for that. There are actually even opportunities for entry-level health care work, such as certified nurses aides,” he says. “Contract tracing is certainly a priority. It’s a statewide priority right now. So that would definitely be on top of the list. I think the other one is there’s just a big demand for supporting work like delivering groceries, medicine, meals.”
Leathers says there also might be opportunities to transport equipment and manage crowd control at some businesses.
More than 611,000 Missourians have filed for unemployment since COVID-19 began taking a toll on the state’s economy in mid-March. According to Leathers, the temp jobs will be open to anyone who has been unemployed over the past five years – not just workers who have been displaced by the pandemic.
Leathers says he hopes 11 of Missouri’s 14 local workforce development boards will get the funding by the end of June. The regions participating include central, St. Louis, Ozarks, northwest, south-central, Kansas City, Jackson County, southeast, St. Louis County, southwest, Jefferson, and Franklin counties. The regions not participating are west-central, St. Charles, and northeast Missouri.
The jobs will be advertised locally and through jobs.mo.gov
If the program proves valuable and the need continues to be significant, Leathers says the state could consider expanding it.
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