High speed rail to boost jobs for Valley's unemployed

April 20, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
Those looking to land a job on the California High Speed Rail Project can get special training thanks to a new state grant.

It's being touted as the single largest infrastructure project in the history of California, with construction set to begin in the City Of Fresno.

Jim Costa (D) Fresno said, "High speed rail is going to benefit the economy, address the needs of our future, it's going to focus on bringing the state together."

On Friday, state and city leaders announced it will get a portion of a $1.5 million grant jointly awarded to five counties including Fresno, Kern, and Stanislaus to train eligible workers.

Fresno Mayor Ashley Swearengin said, "We know the mid and long term is very promising for economic development in Fresno, but there's also this tremendous opportunity in the short term and that comes from the jobs that will be created as the project is constructed."

Executive Director of the Workforce Investment Board Blake Konczal says the grant will allow the agency to train around 325 people in construction and related trades, and can hire people from economically disadvantaged areas and those facing barriers to employment.

Konczal said, "If you've been on unemployment insurance for a long time, that would qualify you, if you're a returning veteran that would qualify you, if you're a single mom, a high school dropout, there's 11 categories that will qualify you."

Fresno WIB launched a website this week to help determine whether you're eligible. Just log onto hsrjobs.com, type in your name and address and the results will appear in seconds.

The website is not for submitting job applications for work on the rail project, but Konczal says people who register will receive information once a contractor is hired, subcontractors are identified and job listings are posted.

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