Labor commissioner: Sandy cleanup put more than 750 back to work

TRENTON – The cleanup of devastation left in the wake of Superstorm Sandy put at least more than 750 unemployed New Jerseyans back to work, the state’s labor commissioner said Wednesday.

Department of Labor and Workforce Development Commissioner Harold Wirths told Senate lawmakers the agency was able to put unemployed New Jerseyans to work by obtaining a $15.6 million National Emergency Grant.

“To date, we have used those funds to place more than 750 unemployed New Jersey residents into temporary jobs in 16 counties helping towns, counties and state agencies in sorely needed cleanup and repair efforts,” Wirths said.

“The Department of Environmental Protection also is using the grant to hire people – up to 80 – as it continues repairing damage done to some of the Garden State’s most precious assets – the state park system,” he said.

The agency was also able to secure federal Disaster Unemployment Assistance, which goes to aid self-employed residents who lost their businesses in the storm or who are temporarily out of work, he said.

“About 3,900 people have taken advantage of that assistance,” said Wirths, adding the deadline for submitting an application for the aid has been extended through Feb. 4.

Wirths is testifying before the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee on the governor’s proposed Fiscal Year 2014 budget.


Labor commissioner: Sandy cleanup put more than 750 back to work