WASHINGTON – After severe wildfires swept across the Hawaiian island of Maui on Aug. 8, 2023, the state’s disaster declaration was approved, which cleared the way for federal aid to assist in recovery efforts. To support disaster-relief jobs, the U.S. Department of Labor today announced the initial award of $10.5 million to Hawaii.

Administered by the department’s Employment and Training Administration, the National Dislocated Worker Grant of up to $21 million allows the Hawaii Department of Labor and Industrial Relations to provide people with temporary jobs focused on cleaning up debris and repairing damage caused by the fires, and providing humanitarian assistance to the wildfire survivors.

Dry conditions spurred by drought and powerful winds spread the wildfire that destroyed more than 2,200 buildings and, as of Aug. 15, 2023, killed 106 people with hundreds still reportedly missing. The Federal Emergency Management Agency issued a major disaster declaration on Aug. 10, 2023, enabling Hawaii to request this funding.

Dislocated Worker Grants – supported by the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act of 2014 – expand the service capacity of dislocated worker programs at the state and local levels by providing funding assistance in response to large, unexpected economic events that lead to significant job losses.

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