BY KYM LIEBLER
The Cincinnati Enquirer
Displaced Tristate residents and volunteers shoveling flood debris out of necessity and kindness can earn money for their sweat.
The U.S. Department of Labor announced Friday that it will provide $6 million to Kentucky to hire 500 flood-relief workers and $5.5 million to Ohio to hire 400 people to assist in flood cleanup.
''Eliminating health and safety threats, repairing and restoring buildings - there is still so much work to be done,'' Acting Secretary of Labor Cynthia Metzler said. ''We hope this will help speed the cleanup process.''
Officials in Indiana are assessing flood damage before deciding whether to apply for the employment grant, said Alden Taylor, public information officer for the Indiana Emergency Management Agency.
People temporarily unemployed because of the flood or those unemployed before the flood are eligible for the six-month program.
Workers will be paid minimum wage or prevailing wages consistent with private industry, Ms. Metzler said.
Although there is no shortage of work in hard-hit Adams County, Paul Howelett, director of the Adams County Emergency Management Agency, doubts people will flock to the employment lines.
''They won't work for five-and-a-quarter out here. I've already asked them,'' Mr. Howelett said of the job pool in Adams County.
''Let's just say there definitely won't be a stampede of people going down putting in their applications for this.''
Remodeling homes, hanging dry wall, laying brick, installing plumbing pipes and electrical work are just some of the work opportunities that abound in the flood's wake, Mr. Howelett said.
As of March 20, there were 860 new unemployment claims filed in Kentucky because of the flood and 220 in Ohio, Ms. Metzler said.
Pendleton County Judge-executive Donald Mays predicts residents will welcome the job opportunities.
''Jobs will be appreciated. Anything will be appreciated at this point,'' he said. ''We'll look into that Monday morning.''