Local News

Stimulus money to create temporary jobs in Wake, Johnston

Posted April 6, 2009 12:27 p.m. EDT
Updated April 6, 2009 7:06 p.m. EDT

— Wake County commissioners on Monday allocated $3.2 million in federal stimulus Monday afternoon to create dozens of temporary jobs for laid-off workers and youths.

"This is the first appropriation of stimulus funds for the county," said Matt Bosse, assistant to County Manager David Cooke. Bosse will serve as the county's "stimulus czar" to keep track of how funds are distributed and spent locally.

The initial funds will be sent to the Capital Area Workforce Development Board, which runs 22 Job Link centers in Wake and Johnston counties.

Regina Crooms, executive director of the work force board, said about $1.3 million of the appropriation will be used to create 150 to 200 temporary jobs and provide training to people who have been laid off. Another $1.3 million will create about 600 part-time summer jobs for youths, she said.

"Everyone is affected. There's no discrimination in age when it comes to being laid off," Crooms said.

Keith Price, 59, lost his managerial job at a software company last August and has been unable to find another job.

"I was sure it would be hard, but I wasn't sure it was going to be this hard," Price said. "It's frustrating. I need to convince someone that I can do a job that's below what I used to do."

Most of the jobs created by the stimulus money will pay $7 to $12 an hour and will last two to five months. People who have been unemployed the longest will likely get the first opportunities.

"It can be anything from building solar panels to providing any assistance that they can to those companies that have had to layoff or downsize," Crooms said. "It's a drop in the bucket, but we're very grateful to have it to offer."

The $3.2 million is the first of five stimulus grants Wake County expects to receive in the next few months, Bosse said.

About $582,000 in stimulus money will go toward preventing homelessness, and another $104,000 is earmarked for local law enforcement.

“Our sheriff's department is working with the city of Raleigh and other Wake County law enforcement agencies to determine the best use of the funding,” Bosse said.

Some money also will be set aside for energy conservation. Bosse said it could be used to retrofit government office spaces to create more energy-efficient buildings.

The county also expects to receive about $300,000 in Community Development Block Grants to improve low-income neighborhoods, he said.

"We're looking at a variety of projects, whether it's building sidewalks or renovating community centers," he said.