(PINE GROVE, PA, March 12, 2012) – A U.S. Congressman and state representative toured the cleanup of the September 2011 flood-ravaged sections of Pine Grove, Schuylkill County, today with members of the Luzerne/Schuylkill Workforce Investment Board to assess the progress being made by federally funded programs.
Congressman Tim Holden and state Rep. Mike Tobash visited several sites in Pine Grove, meeting with the workers and learning more about the $1,050,255 National Emergency Grant being administered by the L/S WIB in Schuylkill and Luzerne counties.
Holden and Tobash said they were impressed with the progress that has been made to assist communities with cleaning up debris along creeks and waterways, with Holden saying the ongoing work in Pine Grove is “a good investment of federal money.” Eight locations in Pine Grove that were severely affected by the flooding are part of the recovery project.
Pine Grove was among the local communities in Schuylkill County hit hard by the flooding from Tropical Storm Lee and Hurricane Irene. Many communities in Luzerne County were devastated and are receiving assistance as well.
Through the National Emergency Grant, 100 temporary jobs have been created with all workers receiving training through the WIB. The funding will enable more than 50 projects to be completed in Luzerne County across 15 municipalities and the county itself. In Schuylkill County, more than 25 projects in 12 municipalities and additional county-owned property will be completed.
Workers for the projects are selected through Pennsylvania CareerLink offices for engagements of approximately six months. Additional workers are trained and ready to continue progress on the projects. The WIB hopes to place the temporary workers into permanent positions. In fact, several of the workers have already found permanent jobs.
The WIB has applied for an additional $1.7 million in funding for projects in Schuylkill and Luzerne counties and is waiting to hear from the state if the funding has been approved. The money would create 44 more jobs, for which the WIB has already selected projects that need to be completed.