Kilili: Dislocated worker grants available in Marianas; $100 million nationwide to aid laid-off workers

Congressman Gregorio Kilili Camacho Sablan (file photo)

WASHINGTON, DC – CNMI Congressman Gregorio Kilili Camacho Sablan said the Marianas is eligible for Dislocated Worker Grant funding the U.S. Department of Labor announced last Wednesday. $100 million is available for the grants, nationwide. The grants pay workers laid off because of the coronavirus to perform disaster-related jobs or get training.

“We included information about the $100 million for Dislocated Worker Grants in Friday’s e-kilili newsletter and were asked to double-check the Marianas is eligible,” Congressman Sablan said.

“Talking with the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Congressional Affairs, we confirmed that, yes, the Marianas is eligible, as are all states and insular areas, as well as Indian tribal governments.

“Of course, $100 million will be used quickly with more and more Americans out of work because of the coronavirus. But this money is a down payment on much larger funding that we are preparing to pass in Congress this week.”

The CNMI Department of Labor has experience applying for and administering the Dislocated Worker Grants, which were also available after Super Typhoon Yutu.

Eligible workers include those laid off after their employer’s business closes or who cannot go to their regular workplace because of the social distancing requirements in place to stop the spread of the disease. Workers, who miss work to care for a family member or who are quarantined because they are sick, are also eligible. Self-employed individuals, too, who are unemployed or underemployed because of the virus, qualify for the help.

The grants can pay workers to organize or deliver medicine, food, and supplies to the elderly and others, who cannot leave home because they are particularly vulnerable to the coronavirus. With many people forced to shelter in place this way and Commonwealth government austerity measures, there could be an increased need for this kind of humanitarian assistance.

Jobs for dislocated workers after a typhoon often include debris removal, but similar clean-up activities are needed now. The U.S. Department of Labor says its grants can be used to hire people to clean schools or sanitize quarantine or treatment areas after their use. Training activities also can be paid for with the Dislocated Worker Grant funds.