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State Seal Workforce Investment, Department for
Kentucky employment workers lend a hand in hurricane damaged Alabama
Press Release Date:  November 3, 2004
Contact:  Kim Saylor Brannock
(502) 564-6606
KimS.Brannock@ky.gov
 

When hurricane Ivan hit the Mobile, Ala., area Sept. 13, Kentucky Office for Employment and Training (OET) employees Mie Sloan and Cheri Montgomery had no idea they would be driving more than 600 miles in October to help disaster victims.

Sloan and Montgomery left Kentucky for Montgomery, Ala., Oct. 31 to help Alabama process about 2,000 disaster unemployment assistance (DUA) claims that resulted from the hurricane. Disaster Unemployment Assistance provides financial assistance to individuals whose employment or self-employment has been lost or interrupted as a direct result of a major disaster declared by the president of the United States.

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) requested assistance from states in the southeastern region to help process the massive number of claims because Alabama’s process is not automated like Kentucky’s DUA system. Sloan and Montgomery went for a week because they work with the DUA system in Kentucky and have the background needed to assist Alabama. In addition to Kentucky, workers from North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia are going to Montgomery to help process claims.

“We feel real fortunate that Kentucky is sending two of its best people. DUA is very complicated,” said Andrew Gill of DUA for the Southeast Region for DOL. “They’re (Alabama) having difficulty processing that large of an amount because they have a manual system. They haven’t had a large disaster in about 10 years.”

Sloan, the OET workforce development operations administrator, said their main duty would be to issue eligibility determination for the claims and to expedite payments. In Kentucky, that process would usually take one to two weeks after a disaster declaration is made by the president.

“We want to help these people who have lost jobs and maybe their homes or car to get money. It’s sad for the people who are waiting for checks so they can feed their children and rebuild their lives,” Sloan said. “Six weeks is far too long for people to go without checks.”

Montgomery, an OET workforce development facilitator, said her husband went to Florida and Alabama soon after the hurricanes hit to help victims through Baptist Disaster Relief but she was not able to go because of work. Now Montgomery is able to assist them in her area of expertise. “This is my way of helping them because they’ve been six weeks without a check,” she said.

Montgomery of Lawrenceburg said she was glad to help out. “We may have a disaster in Kentucky like that and I would hope that other states would help us,” she said.

Sloan of Waddy said after you go to unemployment insurance conferences and meet people from other states, it makes you want to help your “sister states.” She said it is also a good opportunity to share information with other states DUA workers and learn from one another.

According to the Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA), in Alabama, 129,000 people have called the FEMA hotline for federal disaster assistance and 32,000 people have visited FEMA disaster recovery centers since the hurricane. FEMA gave $116 million in aid to individuals and households in Alabama between Sept. 15 and Oct. 28 as a result of the hurricane.

“We were happy with the positive response that we received from other state agencies. It shows what kind of camaraderie we have in this region. We gave them fairly short notice – about 24-48 hours,” Gill said.

Learn more about the Office of Employment and Training, an agency of the Department for Workforce Investment in the Education Cabinet at www.workforce.ky.gov

The Kentucky Education Cabinet coordinates learning programs from P-16, and manages and supports training and employment functions in the Department for Workforce Investment. For more information about our programs, visit www.educationcabinet.ky.gov or www.workforce.ky.gov, or call 502-564-6606.






 

Last updated: Wednesday, November 03, 2004