Two contracts approved Tuesday by the Board of Supervisors will facilitate the creation of potentially hundreds of private-sector jobs in Humboldt County.

The contracts formalize agreements with Sequoia Personnel Services, Inc., and Express Employment Professionals to place low-income residents in jobs temporarily subsidized by the federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

ARRA funds will cover 80 percent of the total costs of placement and employment, including wages, benefits, supervision, training, payroll taxes and administrative expenses. Employers will be responsible for the remaining 20 percent.

The program will bring up to $2 million into the local economy and increase available ARRA employment subsidy funding in Humboldt County to $9.8 million.

Eligible residents are CalWORKs recipients or other parents with incomes less than 200 percent of the federal poverty level, including non-custodial parents and families in reunification.

”This program will help lower-income and welfare-to-work residents address barriers to employment,” said Phillip R. Crandall, Director of the Department of Health and Human Services, which administers the ARRA program.

“Participants will develop soft skills, gain work experience and be better positioned to obtain unsubsidized employment when the stimulus period ends.”

DHHS Social Services Branch Director Kathy Young said another benefit of the program is its boost to the local economy.

The primary objective is to provide an immediate source of income for unemployed and low-income parents,” Young said. “But ARRA funding also enables employers to hire employees they might otherwise be unable to afford. Hopefully this will strengthen and grow local businesses well beyond the subsidy period.”

Job applicants will be screened for eligibility by the Job Market, a local employment resource center, before being referred to the personnel services for placement.

Express and Sequoia will match eligible applicants with available jobs, and serve as fiscal intermediaries and employers of record for the employees they place. Their expenses and fees will be reimbursed by ARRA at 80 percent.

Employment subsidies are currently scheduled to end Sept. 30 of this year, and the Sequoia and Express contracts will sunset at that time. However, ongoing discussions at the state and federal levels could extend the program, and the county retains the option of extending the contracts commensurately.

Interested applicants may contact the Job Market at 445-6149. Employers may contact Express Employment Professionals at 268-1866 or Sequoia Personnel Services, Inc., at 445-9641.

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