Almost $6 million to put people back to work by cleaning up after tropical storms Lee and Irene has been approved and will go to projects in Schenectady, Montgomery and Schoharie counties.
The programs are funded by a National Emergency Grant of more than $16 million that was approved last year, with this latest installment of funds representing the final extension of the program. The money goes to public cleanup and restoration projects that hire long-term unemployed or dislocated workers.
It is projected that more than 800 people have benefited from this program.
This latest round of funding was approved about 10 days ago and includes money for work by the Schenectady County Community College in Schenectady, at the Walter Elmwood Museum in Amsterdam and along the Schoharie Creek. More than 120 people are working on these projects.
Federal funds were released with the approval of Congress, including U.S. Rep. Paul Tonko, D-Amsterdam, who has been a strong advocate for this money.
“There is a lot of cleanup work left to be done,” he said.
The dual goals of the project — to put people to work and accomplish a project — hark back to the New Deal projects, Tonko noted. “We can take lessons from history,” he said.
He added that the program demonstrates the kind of work the federal government can do, as this money will yield tangible results that people can see and benefit from.
These jobs were and are in hot demand, as they pay $40 an hour and are offered in areas with high unemployment like Montgomery and Schoharie counties.
The programs are administered by private entities, such as Northeast Parent and Child Society, but projects are chosen from submissions to the New York State Department of Labor. All projects that were sent to the state’s DOL were approved, according to Tonko’s office.
The previous round of funding was $5 million in June.