OKLAHOMA CITY — Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin announced Thursday that Oklahoma has been awarded up to $10 million in National Emergency Grant assistance from the U.S. Department of Labor.
An initial $5 million will be allocated to the Oklahoma Department of Commerce to fund temporary jobs to assist in the cleanup and recovery efforts in parts of Oklahoma impacted by severe weather between May 18 and 20. An additional $5 million may be available as the state demonstrates a continued need for assistance.
“More than 3,900 homes and businesses were damaged or destroyed in the recent round of devastating tornadoes that swept across our state,” Fallin said. “State and local efforts to remove debris, clear streets and begin the rebuilding process have been proceeding efficiently. Help from faith-based groups, churches, nonprofits and volunteer organizations has been a tremendous asset in the recovery.
“However, with the amount and scope of damage that occurred in these storms, along with the work that remains to be done, it’s clear that federal aid is both necessary and appropriate. My thanks go out to the U.S. Department of Labor for providing this assistance.”
ODOC officials estimate the creation of up to 1,000 temporary jobs directed at clean-up, rebuilding and humanitarian efforts. Next week, ODOC will make an announcement detailing the process for applying for these temporary positions.
ODOC Director Jonna Kirschner said the funds will help her agency as it works to aid in the recovery effort.
“This grant is part of Commerce’s commitment to the recovery of Oklahoma,” Kirschner said. “This is a team effort. We will continue to work with Gov. Fallin and our local and federal partners to ensure we provide the assistance needed to get our communities back on their feet.”
The Federal Emergency Management Agency on May 20 declared five Oklahoma counties eligible for FEMA’s Public Assistance Program following the severe storms and tornadoes. This Labor Department grant will target each of these counties: Cleveland, Lincoln, McClain, Oklahoma and Pottawatomie. Additional counties may be included at a later date.