1 Aug 2011

US funding goes to re-employ laid off American Samoa workers

10:31 am on 1 August 2011

Twenty percent of the 2,200 people who lost their jobs following the 2009 tsunami and closure of the Samoa Packing plant are now in permanent jobs while hundreds currently on job training will soon have full time jobs themselves.

The US Department of Labor awarded the territorial government US$24 million to hire displaced workers on disaster recovery and clean up and to train them for new jobs.

The Government Director of Human Resources Evelyn Vaitautolu Langford says over $11 million of the grant has already been spent in salaries and wages towards disaster clean up and recovery.

The balance has been dedicated to the workforce development plans, which includes on the job training in government and private sector and creation of new projects like the American Samoa Culinary Academy.

The grant will also be used to train recruits for the call center training facility,

Langford says, 20 percent of the 2,200 people who were hired under the National Employment Grant Program have full time jobs, while more than 320 participants have on the job training slots mostly in the private sector.