Fed money will help create jobs

LISBON – $100,000 in public assistance funding is being used in partnership with local businesses to help create jobs for poorer residents, especially those with child support payments.

The money is from the pot of federal public assistance funding received annually by the Columbiana County Department of Job and Family Services, whose director, Eileen Dray-Bardon, met this week with county commissioners to receive their approval for the new program.

She said JFS allocations were increased this year with the suggestion some of the extra money be used on the programs designed to help public assistance recipients obtain the skills necessary to find and keep a job. The JFS had undertaken a similar program in 2009 when an additional $310,000 was provided for that specific purpose. Of those 10 people placed in jobs, nine were still employed after the funding expired more than a year later.

The $100,000 would be used to help pay the wages and benefits of businesses that agree to participate in the program. Each employer would receive $500 a month per worker to help subsidize the cost of taking on the new employee for up to six months, for a maximum subsidy of $3,000.

Over the same period the worker would also be eligible to receive $400 worth of gas cards to help them purchase fuel to drive to and from their job. If the employee is still on the job after six month, they will receive a $600 bonus.

Dray-Bardon said they expect to staff at least 25 positions.

Eligible to participate is anyone at or below 200 percent of the federal poverty level ($23,340 for individual living alone or someone from a household with a combined income of $47,700). Dray-Bardon said they are specifically targeting people in that category who owe child support or are receiving cash public assistance.

County Development Director Tad Herold, who will recruit businesses to participate in the program, said they are more than glad to help since it achieves their twin goals of helping existing businesses and creating new jobs.

In other action, commissioners:

– Awarded the contract for New Waterford’s Boardman Street water well project to Mike Pusateri Excavating, which submitted the lowest bid at $83,773. The project is funded in part with a portion of the county’s 2014 CDBG allocation awarded New Waterford by commissioners.

– Awarded the contract for janitorial services at the JFS to Quaker Cleaning of Salem for $27,132.