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Lingle applies for $7.7 million in stimulus funds

MEDIA RELEASE

In an effort to take maximum advantage of the federal funds available through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to increase employment opportunities and boost the economy, Gov. Linda Lingle applied Thursday for Hawaii’s full share of federal grants that will supplement existing workforce development and training programs.

These programs will help Hawaii’s unemployed labor force get back to work, or improve workers’ skills to help advance their careers. 

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 provides states and the public workforce investment system with additional funding for a number of employment and training programs to help Americans acquire new skills and re-enter the workforce.  

While the additional funding was approved by the president and Congress under the federal stimulus package, the governors of each state were to apply for the funds by March 13.

“The goal of these federal stimulus funds is to assist our residents who have lost their jobs due to the impact the national and international economic downturn has had on Hawaii’s economy,” Lingle said. “The funds will enable the Hawaii Department of Labor and Industrial Relations to build on its partnerships with the counties, the private sector, labor unions and nonprofit organizations to enhance job assistance and employment training services.”

The DLIR expects to receive the $7.7 million March 19, with approximately 85 percent of the funds being distributed to the counties and the state, and investing the balance in various employment programs. 

In total, the state will receive $7,773,870 broken down as follows:

• $2,918,025 for youth employment service programs, including expanded summer employment programs for youth;

• $1,234,406 for adult employment service programs, with priority given to recipients of public assistance and other low-income individuals;

• $2,161,193 for dislocated worker training and employment service programs; and

• $1,426,246 for public employment service programs, including $891,104 to support reemployment services for unemployment insurance claimants. 

These funds will also be used to support One-Stop Centers dedicated to providing free services to job seekers and employers, including job search assistance, personal career planning services, training opportunities, library resources and online employment resources such as the state’s HireNetHawaii.com.

Last month, one day after President Barack Obama signed the federal stimulus bill, Lingle authorized an additional $25 a week in unemployment benefits per claimant as part of the federal package.

“This weekly increase in benefits will provide unemployed individuals in Hawaii and their families with additional financial resources to help pay their bills as they get back into the job market,” Lingle said.

With checks expected to be mailed starting this week, this increase in benefits is expected to add more than $600,000 to Hawaii’s economy each week.

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