Focus

Providing jobs, providing relief

After Sept. 11, the roofing industry banded together to provide relief following a national tragedy. And it's doing so again in the wake of Hurricane Katrina (see "Giving cheerfully," page 82). But providing funds may not be the only way to help victims of the hurricane—another option is to provide jobs to the thousands of displaced survivors.

To help employers locate survivors seeking jobs, the U.S. Department of Labor has created a job bank to identify workers looking for employment. The Katrina Recovery Job Connection can be accessed at www.jobsearch.org/katrinajobs and is geared toward survivors seeking new, full-time employment in their home state or a new state, survivors wishing to assist in the clean-up and rebuilding efforts through temporary employment, and employers who want to list jobs supporting hurricane recovery efforts or hire hurricane survivors.

"Getting people back to work is what this department does," says U.S. Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao. "Giving people hope in their future is our job."

And because many survivors lost everything they had—even identification—the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has said it will not sanction employers who are unable to procure I-9 documentation for individuals seeking work following the hurricane. Although the I-9 form still has to be completed, employers can note on the form that an employee is a survivor of Hurricane Katrina. DHS says the change will be in effect until Oct. 24. DHS will determine whether to extend its sanction at that time; updated information will be available on DHS' Web site, www.dhs.gov/dhspublic, in October. (Note that DHS will hold employers and employees liable for knowingly submitting fraudulent forms.)

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