HATAGNA, Guam (Pacific Daily News, Jan. 21) - The Agency for Human Resources Development may be a phone call or a note away from knowing whether the federal government will fund a $50 million tab for extending the employment of about 1,374 temporary workers and hiring of about 2,600 more for storm recovery efforts.

Agency interim Director Roxanne Garrido said the federal government has indicated it will fund a post-Supertyphoon Pongsona temporary jobs program.

But Garrido said she's waiting to hear from the U.S. Department of Labor in Washington, D.C., how much the federal government is willing to finance.

After Typhoon Chata'an, the federal government approved $8.3 million for the hiring of temporary workers for up to about six months.

The AHRD's request for a $50 million funding will allow post-Chata'an recovery workers to reapply for another six months of work after the Chata'an payroll funds are exhausted, she said.

In addition to those workers, the proposed $50 million funding will allow the agency to hire about 2,600 more unemployed workers for post-Pongsona recovery, she said.

The plan is aimed at keeping the island's unemployment rate from going up, she said.

The island's unemployment rate -- at 11 percent when last surveyed almost a year ago -- was double the nation's jobless rate at the time.

But while workers on the mainland have the financial safety net offered by unemployment insurance, Guam does not have such a program.

Garrido said she's also working on a job training program for the temporary workers to be better equipped to find jobs on Guam when their federally funded jobs end.

January 21, 2003

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