A $5.8 million grant from the U.S. Department of Labor is going to help re-employee Sevier County residents who lost their jobs as a result of November's wildfires.

"We knew very quickly we had to come up with a plan help those individuals who were going to be out of work," said Commissioner Burns Phillips with Tennessee Labor and Workforce Development.

That plan comes in the form of a $5.8 million dollar "National Dislocated Work" grant. $2 million of that began distribution today. The remaining $3.8 million will be distributed incrementally throughout the year.
 
It's designed to put people who lost their jobs in the fires back to work, and clean up Gatlinburg and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
 
 
"Those jobs will have to be directly related to reclamation activities," said Phillips.
 
The jobs funded through this grant include:
  • Case Managers

  • Trail Laborers

  • Maintenance Workers

  • Property Cleanup Worker

  • Excavation Crew

  • Lead Workers

Officials say pay range is expected to be from $9 an hour to $16 an hour. Most jobs will last through the end of 2017.

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"One of my biggest concerns is to get our workforce back to work and this is going to be such a help. We really appreciate this grant money," said Gatlinburg Mayor Mike Warner.

The Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development and Walters State Community College are hosting a total of four sessions to help unemployed people apply.

Application Schedule: Bring two forms of I.D.

Friday, March 3
10 a.m. - 2 p.m., Rocky Top Sports Works, Gatlinburg

Monday, March 6
9 a.m.- 2 p.m., American Job Center, Sevierville

Tuesday, March 7
9 a.m.- 2 p.m., American Job Center, Sevierville

Wednesday, March 8
9 a.m.- 2 p.m., Community Center, Newport

Applicants must meet certain criteria to be eligible for employment through the grant:

  1. Individuals who lost their jobs directly due to the wildfires, regardless of the county in which they reside, or

  2. Sevier County residents who are dislocated workers, meaning they lost their jobs directly or indirectly because of the wildfires, or

  3. Sevier County residents who have lost their jobs through no fault of their own.

Veterans and their spouses will receive priority.