- Associated Press - Monday, June 9, 2014

PONTOTOC, Miss. (AP) - A federal grant is helping workers who lost jobs because of the April 28 tornadoes - and more can be hired.

Forty-three people are at work in various Tupelo city departments thanks to the National Emergency Grant, Mayor Jason Shelton told the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal (https://bit.ly/1idOwQr).

The money goes through Three Rivers Planning and Development District in Pontotoc for disaster areas including Itawamba, Lee, Lowndes and Winston counties.

About 100 people have been hired so far, using about $700,000 of up to $4.4 million.

The money provides temporary jobs for up to six months in public entities and nonprofit organizations for the displaced workers. It also helps two other groups - people who have exhausted unemployment benefits and those who have been jobless for more than 27 weeks.

“They can earn up to $12,000 or work up to six months, whichever comes first,” said Bill Renick, Workforce Investment Area Director for Three Rivers. “The pay scale will depend on the scope of the job, so the pay is set by the entity that’s hiring.”

Potential applicants in Lee and Itawamba counties should go to the WIN Job Center in Belden, he said.

Three Rivers was given an initial $1.5 million to start its program, with remaining money available while it lasts.

“Basically, we have a line of credit,” Renick said.

The program is slated to run through June 30, 2015, or when the money is depleted.

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Information from: Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal, https://djournal.com

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