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U.S. Department of Labor grant to help out of work tornado victims in south central Kentucky

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A $1 million federal grant will help south central Kentuckians whose employment was impacted by the December tornadoes. 

The U.S. Department of Labor awarded the grant to the South Central Workforce Development Board which serves Warren and nine surrounding counties.

Funding will put displaced workers into humanitarian roles, whether it be cleaning up debris or working in a healthcare, school, or government setting.

South Central Workforce Development Board President and CEO Jon Sowards says ideal candidates should speak more than one language.                                   

“How many people born and raised in the United States know how to navigate FEMA or any of the other multitude of non-profits or government entities that are helping in the community, and its doubly difficult if you don’t speak the language," Sowards stated.

The grant will allow individuals to be paid up to $20,000 or for one year. The funding can also be used to subsidize training for emergency response positions.

The ten-county region of south central Kentucky currently has 8,800 job openings. The service industry, manufacturing, and health care are particularly struggling with pandemic-related labor shortages.

The South Central Workforce Development Board is launching a new initiative called “Talent Tuesdays" that will feature job fairs once a month at various locations throughout the region.

“Workforce participation is a national issue right now," commented Sowards. "From our standpoint, we’re not immune to that in this region, but we’ve got to turn that around. The vibrancy of our community is directly tied to employment.”

Tuesday's job fair will connect job seekers with area employers representing manufacturing, health care, and schools.

The hiring event will take place inside the lobby of the South Central Workforce Development Board. The Bowling Green-based agency is located on Nashville Road at WKU’s south campus.

Lisa is a Scottsville native and WKU alum. She has worked in radio as a news reporter and anchor for 18 years. Prior to joining WKU Public Radio, she most recently worked at WHAS in Louisville and WLAC in Nashville. She has received numerous awards from the Associated Press, including Best Reporter in Kentucky. Many of her stories have been heard on NPR.
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