DeKalb giving $1 million to unemployed residents getting job trainingDeKalb County CEO Michael Thurmond. Photo by Dean Hesse.
By Patrick Saunders, contributor
DeKalb County, GA — DeKalb County has allocated $1 million to help residents who are unemployed due to the pandemic and training to work in in-demand career fields.
DeKalb CEO Michael Thurmond announced the details behind the initiative during a DeKalb Commission Meeting on Tuesday. One-time payments of $1,500 will be made to up to 650 people, who must be residents 18 or older who lost their job due to the pandemic and are attending an institution for training in information technology, healthcare, advanced manufacturing or business technology.
“The key element in this is to reward men and women who are taking the opportunity to leverage existing skills to transition those skills and build on those skills by receiving education and training from a certified provider here in the state of Georgia,” Thurmond said.
Funding for the initiative is coming from the county’s portion of the federal CARES Act fund. The funds will go to help people with basic needs like rent or mortgage assistance, food, utilities and transportation, according to Worksource DeKalb Director Theresa Austin-Gibbons
“We’re trying to assist these individuals to get them to the next step in their career pathway so they don’t have to drop out of school because they’re worried about other barriers that are impacting their lives and their families at this time,” she said.
It’s part of a plan to start thinking about DeKalb’s future in a post-pandemic world now that a vaccine is on the horizon, according to Thurmond.
“It shifts focus now in terms of what local governments can and should do to address the economic damage that is being wrought,” he said.
“As dark and difficult as the day is right now … we have to believe that a better day is coming and encourage our citizens who are unemployed, who are struggling to get the training, to get the education,” he added.
The county has already begun screening applications for eligibility for the initiative. There are currently 246 residents eligible to begin receiving assistance as of Dec. 11.
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