ARLINGTON — Close to two dozen previously out-of-work Snohomish County residents are already being trained to carry out recovery efforts for the Oso area, and more crews will be put to work in the weeks and months ahead, thanks to WorkSource Snohomish County.
Amy Persell, director of service delivery for the county agency, explained that WorkSource has received a $2.8 million national emergency grant for public service employment, of which $900,000 has been allocated to Oso recovery-related jobs.
“It’s like during the Great Depression, when the Works Progress Administration built highways and dams,” Persell said.
To that end, WorkSource conducted three hiring sessions at the Arlington Public Works Administration Building May 19, drawing an estimated 60 applicants for positions including trail clean-up and maintenance, general labor, labor site supervision and humanitarian support.
More than 20 workers were being trained on May 21 to refurbish the Darrington Rodeo Grounds, with $25,000 in state aid from Gov. Jay Inslee to get the grounds ready for the June 21-22 Timberbowl Rodeo.
“The Department of Commerce is providing the materials, and our crew is providing the labor,” Persell said. “They’re supplying wood for the bleachers, and we’re putting it in.”
The White Horse Trail and other area trails will be tackled by another 28 WorkSource hires, in conjunction with the Snohomish County Parks Department, while Persell noted the need for an additional 15 workers to repair even more area trails, this time for the U.S. Forest Service.
Among these jobs’ eligibility requirements are that applicants need to be either directly affected by the Oso disaster, qualify as “dislocated workers,” or unemployed for 27 weeks or more.
“Those who didn’t get selected in this go-round shouldn’t lose hope, though, because it’s looking like we’ll need an additional 70 workers this summer,” Persell said.
Those who are interested in summer jobs, internships and volunteer opportunities beyond Oso recovery efforts can attend the WorkSource Summer Palooza from 3-6 p.m. on May 28 in the Lakewood Middle School commons at 16800 16th Dr. NE, Marysville.