Irene wipes out some Vt jobs and creates new ones - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Irene wipes out some Vt jobs and creates new ones

Richmond, Vermont - September 15, 2011

At the On the Rise Bakery in Richmond the team is back to work after minor damage from Tropical Storm Irene. But many Vermonters are still stuck without a place to clock in.

"One of the things that we want to let Vermonters know is that in the wake of this disaster, there still is hiring going on in Vermont, there are still employers looking for workers," said Annie Noonan, commissioner of the Vt. Labor Department.

Thursday, Gov. Peter Shumlin joined Noonan and others to talk about the roughly 500 new jobs that have resulted from the storm. Many are tied to construction, cleanup and repair projects.

"If you are an electrician and you register with us and an employer comes through the door and says I need a licensed electrician, we are able to make that match at no cost to the employee or the employer," Noonan said.

A house in Richmond lost its foundation in Tropical Storm Irene and it's been raised off the ground for repairs. It could cost tens of thousands of dollars to fix and Governor Shumlin says Vermonters should get the first stab at the work.

"We want to employ Vermonters first and we want to get you back to work as quickly as we can, as soon as we can fill those jobs we can rebuild our businesses, we can get them open again," said Shumlin, D-Vermont.

The governor is urging people looking for work to visit VermontJobLink.com or one of 12 Job Resource Center locations across the state.

"The Department of Labor staff will help job seekers with career counseling, help you develop a resume if you are concerned with that, help with job development, we can help you ensure that you are ready to present yourself to the employer," Shumlin said.

But while there are new jobs, many more Vermonters have lost them in the wake of Irene. The labor department saw a dramatic rise in unemployment applications following the storm. In the first two weeks of August there were 731 people filing claims. In the two weeks after the storm there were 1,331.

Noonan wants people who are struggling to know they may be eligible for disaster unemployment assistance to help them rebound.

"You can have some time to put your life back together, at the same time we will be working with you to identify potential job opportunities for you," she said.

The state's job website, www.vermontjoblink.com, has sections for people looking for work and employers with open positions. The service is free.

Keith McGilvery - WCAX News

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