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County gets $300K to train jobless

Monterey County Herald, December 24, 2008

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has awarded an economic stimulus grant worth nearly $300,000 to help train jobless workers in Monterey County.

The funds will be used by the Monterey County Workforce Development Board to provide job training, education and placement assistance to local residents displaced by the economic downturn.

Unemployment figures have risen steadily in recent months, creating additional demand on services for displaced workers.

Monterey County's unemployment rate reached 8.8 percent in November, up from a revised 7.1 percent in October 2008, and above the year-ago estimate of 6.5 percent. That compares with a statewide unemployment rate of 8.4 percent in November and a national unemployment rate of 6.7 percent.

The county's month-to-month increase is a significant jump, said Joseph Werner, executive director of the Monterey County Workforce Development Board, particularly because the layoffs are beginning to be widely felt across many employment sectors as consumers' changing spending patterns begin to impact everything from restaurants and hotels to appliance retailers and automotive dealerships.

Monterey County, which received a $291,561 job training grant, was among 25 regions awarded $4.3 million in state grants. An additional $1.1 million will go to Employment Development Departments to support their share of costs in the One Stop Career Centers. For Monterey County, that sum is $72,890.

"The best way to fight recession," said Werner, "is to put people to work in high-paying, meaningful jobs that will stay around for a long period of time."

Marie Vasari can be reached at 646-4478 or mvasari@montereyherald.com.

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