Cochran, Wicker announce emergency grant to help displaced workers

U.S. Sens. Thad Cochran and Roger Wicker today reported the award of a $5 million federal grant to Mississippi to provide employment assistance for workers who are laid off because of the Gulf of Mexico oil disaster.

The National Emergency Grant was approved by the Department of Labor to allow Mississippi to provide employment-related assistance to workers who lose their jobs as a result of the oil spill. The Labor Department indicated that about 300 workers in Mississippi are projected to be affected by the ongoing crisis.

“This grant represents an effort by the Labor Department to be responsive to the consequences that the oil spill will have on Mississippi’s coastal economy. Displaced worker assistance is just one facet of what our state will need as cleanup and recovery from the oil spill moves forward,” said Cochran, who is the ranking Republican on the Senate appropriations subcommittee that funds the Department of Labor.

“The Gulf oil spill is devastating to Mississippi jobs and our way of life,” said Wicker. “Many shrimpers, fishermen, and restaurant and hotel workers are worried about providing for their families during this difficult time. While there are many more steps we need to take to support the businesses and people of the Gulf Coast region, this grant will help provide the assistance needed for those impacted by potential layoffs.”

The grant will be applied to George, Hancock, Harrison, Jackson, Pearl River and Stone counties. The Mississippi Department of Employment Security will use the federal assistance to provide employment services and long-term training aid to help laid off workers become re-employed.

Read more about this story in Thursday's Sun Herald.