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TMCNet:  Jobs program to put 175 people back to work in Lauderdale County

[December 16, 2009]

Jobs program to put 175 people back to work in Lauderdale County

NASHVILLE, Dec 16, 2009 (The Commercial Appeal - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) -- After a similar successful effort in Perry County, Gov. Phil Bredesen announced today a plan to cut unemployment in Lauderdale County -- which has reported Tennessee's highest jobless rates for several months -- by putting up to 175 people in jobs using federal economic recovery act funds.

The county's unemployment rate has hovered around 18 percent and 19 percent for the past three months. About 1,900 Lauderdale residents who are looking for work are unemployed.

The 175 positions include government and private-sector job opportunities that will be funded through September 2010 by American Recovery & Reinvestment Act dollars allocated to the Tennessee Department of Human Services, the governor said. The positions include 50 highway maintenance worker positions within the Tennessee Department of Transportation and 125 positions that will be filled primarily by private-sector companies seeking to hire additional staff.

"This jobs package will put people back to work and provide some much needed assistance to these residents who are feeling the effects of this economic downturn," Bredesen said. "One of the primary goals of the Recovery Act is to put people back to work, and I'm glad the state can bring this assistance to Lauderdale County residents during these tough times." Residents of Lauderdale County must meet certain income and asset requirements to be eligible for these positions: a family's income cannot be greater than 133 percent of the federal poverty level, or $2,030 per month for a family of three, and their liquid resources cannot exceed $2,000. In addition, residents must have a child younger than 18 living in their household.

Approximately 3,300 unemployed residents of Lauderdale County who have contacted the Tennessee Career Center at Ripley in the past 12 months will begin receiving letters today informing them of the job creation program. Eligibility criteria and an application are included in the mailing. Applications are due back to the Career Center by Jan. 4 and a job fair for all eligible applicants will be held approximately two weeks later.

The jobs program is similar to one launched in May for Perry County, which at that time had the state's highest unemployment rate. More than 450 unemployed people found jobs as a result of that effort. Bredesen said at that time he wanted to make it a model that could be implemented in other high-unemployment counties.

"The goal of this effort is to use Recovery Act funds to provide assistance where it's needed most," Bredesen said. "Our state's economy continues to suffer and thousands of Tennesseans are struggling to make ends meet. We'll continue look for creative ways to assist counties with high rates of unemployment." Lauderdale County residents who need unemployment assistance can contact the Tennessee Career Center at Ripley, located at 301-C Lake Drive in Ripley, or call (731) 635-3479.

To see more of The Commercial Appeal or to subscribe to the newspaper, go to http://www.commercialappeal.com. Copyright (c) 2009, The Commercial Appeal, Memphis, Tenn. Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services. For reprints, email tmsreprints@permissionsgroup.com, call 800-374-7985 or 847-635-6550, send a fax to 847-635-6968, or write to The Permissions Group Inc., 1247 Milwaukee Ave., Suite 303, Glenview, IL 60025, USA.

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