- Associated Press - Thursday, January 19, 2017

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - Officials say the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development has received a $5.8 million federal grant to help workers affected by the eastern Tennessee wildfires in November.

The U.S. Department of Labor approved a National Dislocated Worker Grant to create disaster relief employment for individuals to assist in cleanup and recovery efforts following the wildfires that killed 14 people and burned thousands of buildings in the Great Smoky Mountains.

Officials say hundreds of workers dislocated by the fires are receiving unemployment benefits. The grant is expected to help about 200 Tennessee workers.

In a statement, state Labor and Workforce Development Commissioner Burns Phillips says the money will “accelerate the cleanup and recovery process in an area of our state that saw so much devastation.”

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