KINGWOOD — Workers hired through a grant program are working to clear debris and trash from Preston County streams and public lands.
Debbie Anderson, program coordinator for the nonprofit Human Resource Development Foundation (HRDF), spoke to Preston County commissioners Monday about the program.
As previously reported, HRDF received$856,736 in National Dislocated Worker Grant funds from WorkForce West Virginia and the U.S. Department of Labor, to be used for disaster relief and cleanup in 12 counties, including Preston, Monongalia, Marion and Taylor. It is based on the July 2017 flooding.
Up to 65 workers total can be hired under the grant. About 10-15 workers are in the Rowlesburg-based crew now, she said. They are paid $11 per hour.
In order to be eligible for the jobs, workers must have been dislocated — either from their home or job — by the July 2017 flooding, or unemployed for more than six months or laid off.
The crews work on waterways, parks and public lands. So far in Preston, they have tackled Rhine Creek and Salt Lick, Anderson said. Madison Creek and Little Buffalo Creek also will be addressed, and work will start soon at the Rowlesburg Park.
“We like to go all the way up a creek, because if you partially hit it, it’s going to come down in the next flooding,” Anderson explained.
Workers receive training, such as CPR, chainsaw safety, OSHA regulations and first aid, Anderson said. They also go to job fairs and get help with resume writing.
“We try to do everything we can do to help them get a job,” Anderson said.
The program has its own equipment and van to take workers to the job site.
County Commissioner Don Smith suggested HRDF contact Friends of the Cheat and County Litter Control Officer Jay Sowers for information on areas that need cleaned up.
Commissioner Craig Jennings suggested talking to someone in the Tygart Valley watershed.