Area's plan to tap job funding for temporary work is taking shape

Alachua County plans to hire 70 employees through Sept. 30.

Published: Tuesday, January 5, 2010 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Monday, January 4, 2010 at 10:52 p.m.

Combined, Alachua County and Gainesville hope to hire more than 100 temporary employees through the state's Florida Back to Work program, which will use federal stimulus money to place income-eligible individuals with dependent children in jobs.

The county's plan is to hire 70 employees through Sept. 30, with a combined payroll in excess of $1 million. Deputy County Administrator Richelle Sucara said the employees would fill positions that have been left vacant from two years of budget-related layoffs. The county's list of jobs includes administrative positions, environmental specialists, webmasters, drug counselors, victim's advocate counselors and a slew of other positions.

Gainesville has submitted plans to hire 34 employees - including administrative and clerical positions, maintenance workers and technical-support employees.

The Sheriff's Office, Property Appraiser's Office, Supervisor of Elections Office, city of Hawthorne, Santa Fe College, Bradford County and a handful of private employers also have plans to fill positions through the program. For that to happen, FloridaWorks, the work force board for Alachua and Bradford counties, must successfully apply for funding from the state government, which plans to make $200 million available through the program.

The Property Appraiser's Office plans to hire three appraisers and a geographic information systems specialist through the program, said Walt Barry, the office's director of finance and personnel.

The stimulus-funded program will reimburse as much as 95 percent of the wages, benefits and training of temporary workers who are eligible for federal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families cash assistance. That means they must have at least one child under age 18 and a household income that does not exceed 200 percent of the federal poverty level.

Job applicants will have to apply through FloridaWorks, which will be responsible for checking to make sure they are eligible for the program. FloridaWorks Executive Director Angela Pate said FloridaWorks might hire additional employees through the program to review applicants' paperwork to ensure they are eligible.

The state has pushed back an initial Jan. 8 application deadline to Jan. 15, but FloridaWorks still plans to submit the region's application by Friday. The state will determine which work force boards across the state receive funding.

Public government bodies that hire employees do not have to keep them on the payroll after Sept. 30. Private employers, however, have to keep employees hired through the program on the payroll. Pate said the state has not given a clear answer yet as to what the consequences are for those companies that do not.

More information on the program is available online at Also, private companies that have an interest in trying to hire employees through the application going out Friday should contact FloridaWorks Vice President Kim Tesh-Vaught at 334-7105, Ext. 304.

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