Applications are still being accepted for jobs funded by a National Dislocated Worker Grant. Individuals living in Sevier County are eligible if they lost jobs through no fault of their own. Individuals residing outside Sevier County are eligible if they lost jobs directly or indirectly due to the November Gatlinburg wildfires.
“We want to make sure that everyone who needs a job takes advantage of this program,” said Donna Stansberry, dean of workforce development at Walters State Community College.
The college and the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development worked together to successfully apply for the $5.8 million grant in the days after the Gatlinburg wildfires.
The jobs are all connected to restoring the areas affected by the fire. Applicants will be placed with one of five agencies: the City of Gatlinburg, Sevier County Government, Sevier County Solid Waste, Inc., the Sevier County Humane Society and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
“We have 56 different job descriptions and we need a variety of skills. Most jobs are directly involved with the cleanup, while others may support those positions. Some positions need special skills. For example, we have some case manager positions open and we need some drivers with CDL licenses. Where we have a cleanup crew, we will probably also need a supervisor or a lead worker,” Stansberry said. Pay ranges according to experience.
She added that some of the jobs will be cleaning debris and preparing popular park trails for visitors. Most of the jobs will last through December.
“The jobs will provide a valuable income during a very difficult time for many families and for communities in the area. At the end of the job, those employed will have a recent and respected job to list on job applications and resumes. Many will be able to add new skills and others will have the chance to impress community leaders involved in these agencies and in the recovery.
“Perhaps the biggest reward is the knowledge that you are helping a very special part of the country recover from a horrific event,” Stansberry said.
Applications are being taken at the American Jobs Center, located at 1216 Graduate Drive. Applicants having two forms of identification, including a photo I.D. should bring them. Career center specialists will try to assist anyone without proper identification.
For more information, contact Fran Valentine at 865-286-6378 or Frances.Valentine@ws.edu.