If you live in Schenectady County, and have been out of work for six months or longer, there is a new, temporary but lucrative job opportunity for you to consider.
Sixty-five public works jobs classified as 'heavy highway projects' that are now open for Schenectady County applicants.
The jobs will be difficult, manual labor positions and will only last for about seven weeks but will pay $42.34 per hour.
There is an earnings cap of $12,000 for each worker.
Eugene White works with the Northeast Parent and Child Society in Schenectady.
White says the high-paying jobs have been made available through a grant from the U.S. Department of Labor.
He says the D.O.L. recently approved $16 million for disaster relief funds for Irene clean up, and that $1.3 million of that grant will go to Schenectady County, and places like the Northeast Parent and Child Society which will place and train people for the work.
Workers will toil in dozens of different flood ravaged locations across the Capital Region, including the Indian Kill Nature Preserve in Glenville.
White said, "The skills that these workers learn during this seven weeks of work will carry them the rest of their careers. These jobs are jobs that will be there today, tomorrow, and forever into the future. There is always going to be a need for this kind of work, and our workers will have the certification, and the training."
The jobs are only available to Schenectady County residents who have been out of work for six months or longer, and white says the grant will help to open up doors that would have otherwise been closed to most of those who end up landing the jobs.
"These projects are public works projects. It's difficult for disadvantaged or displaced workers to get the training to get these kind of jobs, materials training, OSHA training," he said.
Emanual McCall is a Youth Build Schenectady success story.
McCall has already trained for and secured one of the positions created by the grant money.
The young man says he's never made even close to $42.34 per hour, and is excited to be back to work.
McCall said, "I received chainsaw training and I took another OSHA class. And the job we're doing is going to be a lot of disaster relief work like cutting down dead trees, removing logs, removing wood, and just rebuilding whatever Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee left behind."
McCall says he will use most of the money he earns this summer to put towards college.
Right now he's in his second semester at Schenectady County Community College.
"With the wages and the rate of pay we're getting, I plan on just pursuing my college education even more and even greater. I wouldn't want to use financial aid if I didn't have to," he said.
White admits the work will not be easy, but says it's important to get the job done right.
"Because what these workers are doing is they are mitigating the flood damage. They're cleaning up parks taking care of bridges, and pathways, and if they don't do this correctly, the work will be of no service. They need to use the right chemicals, the right kind of landscape training, for example," he said.
Nicole Selke of Delmar has been unemployed for months. She says being trained for the work that's 'out there' seems to be one of the keys to actually being hired.
"I'm seeing now a days that one of the things that are very important are for people to have are their certificates, and to have their degrees, you know? To have something that says, 'Yes, I can do the job!'"
Once she heard about the high paying, temporary jobs in Schenectady County, Selke jokingly said she would move.
"I think that would be a wonderful opportunity! Right now I wish that I was in Schenectady County! I would absolutely be open to something like that," she said.
If you're interested in applying for one of the new public works positions afforded by the U.S. Department of Labor grant, just go to the 'Schenedtady One Stop' job center. It's located at the Schenedtady County Human Services Building the information is listed below.
Schenectady, NY 12305
Monday - Friday
8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.