By: Ilana Kowarski and Wayne T. Price, FLORIDA TODAY
CareerSource Brevard received a sudden reprieve from the U.S. Department of Labor last week when it got a last-minute extension of a federal grant for unemployed aerospace workers. By Tim Walters Posted June 16, 2014
CareerSource Brevard received a reprieve of sorts from the U.S. Department of Labor last week when it got a last-minute extension of a federal grant aimed at helping unemployed aerospace workers in the area.
The funds — through what’s called a National Emergency Grant — began in June 2010 about a year before the last shuttle flight in 2011. The grant was set to end last Saturday but now will continue through Dec. 14. That means former space shuttle workers will have a few more months to capitalize on the employment services that CareerSource Brevard provides to people impacted by the end of the shuttle program.
Those services include career workshops, retraining and educational opportunities.
Saturday’s extension was the third extension that CareerSource Brevard obtained for the grant which originally was $15 million. Approximately $1.2 million of the federal grant money remains and it would have been returned to federal coffers if the grant had not been extended.
Lisa Rice, president of CareerSource Brevard, said the extension was welcome news.
“We’re thrilled that this no-cost extension came through so that we’re able to keep helping these people,” Rice told FLORIDA TODAY on Monday.
Rice said that some unemployed aerospace workers have recently reached their personal breaking point and that these workers required immediate attention.
“They’ve used up everything they had and they’re desperate,” she said.
Currently about 575 former shuttle workers are participating in one of CareerSource Brevard’s retraining and educational programs funded through the grant. Denise Biondi of CareerSource Brevard said, in total, 2,961 displaced shuttle workers have benefited from the emergency grant money, while the Aerospace Workforce Transition Program has served more than 9,000.
Of the more than 9,000 individuals who lost their jobs when the shuttle program ended, Rice said that as of March:
5,053 of them are re-employed
a little more than 700 are working outside of Florida.
more than 550 are working outside of Brevard.
2,388 have been re-employed in Brevard.
About 1,400 former aerospace workers can’t be located, Rice said.
“We know they’re employed,” she said, “but their employer code doesn’t tell us if they’re in Florida or outside of Florida.”
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