Across the country, many companies are moving quickly to help their employees. Wal-Mart has pledged jobs at other stores for out-of-work employees, and McDonald's is promising to continue paying displaced workers. Locally, convenience store conglomerate Shop Rite is posting "Help Wanted" signs at more than 60 Shop Rite and Tobacco Plus stores throughout the state, and Sonic is transferring workers from its 10 New Orleans area stores, as well as hiring other franchisees' employees.
"Anyone who has relocated or is displaced, we're taking them in, anywhere they want to go," says Gary Wilkerson, vice president of Kergan Brothers, which owns 40 Sonic stores throughout south Louisiana.
Even with their lives in upheaval, most of Lafayette's evacuees are ready to get to work, says Henry Florsheim, vice president of the Lafayette Economic Development Authority. "I went to the Cajundome to pass out job fair flyers, and as I was putting them up a lot of people were walking up asking for them," he says. "It'll give them some money so they can get out of the shelter. We want to get people working as soon as possible."
Thirty-one-year-old Marguerite Christoval, who fled New Orleans' West Bank with a large entourage of family members, wants to work partly to help escape the stress of the situation. The generosity of a local family is providing her and her children with temporary housing, and the former customer service specialist with the City of New Orleans' traffic court wants an income so that she can find permanent housing in Lafayette. "I just want my own money. I am ready to get back to work to take my mind off of what's going on around me," says Christoval, whose husband is a New Orleans police officer still working in the city.
Last week, Lafayette Consolidated Government was awarded National Emergency Grant funds to provide federal assistance for 470 temporary public service jobs [in non-profit and government sectors] for evacuees like Christoval. For up to 12 weeks, participants will be paid $9 an hour and can work 40-hour weeks. Lafayette Workforce Investment Board Executive Administrator Glenn Dugas urges all non-profits and government agencies to contact his office with available positions, as monies from any unfilled positions will be returned to the federal government. (For more information, call the LCG's Workforce Investment Act office at (337) 291-7034.)
Florsheim's Cajundome flyer advertised an "Evacuee Job Fair" held Monday from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. in conjunction with UL Lafayette, LCG and the State Department of Labor. Companies like The Lemoine Co., Halliburton and Northwestern Mutual participated, offering jobs ranging from unskilled laborers to engineers, financial advisers and construction managers. The fair came on the heels of last Friday's Greater Lafayette Chamber of Commerce seminar, which provided resources for businesses or individuals seeking office space, employment and information on relocating their businesses to Lafayette. (Those who missed the seminar can contact Patricia Parks at the chamber office at 233-2705; additional seminars will be held every Friday until further notice.) Additionally, any companies with openings can send a description of the job to the "virtual LEDA job fair" at www.lafayette.org/jobs. LEDA's Florsheim says more job fairs like the one held Monday at Cajun Field may be forthcoming.
Assistance is also coming from the financial services community. Financial adviser DeAnne Henke is donating her time to help evacuees with their investing and financial needs so they can access money to get back on their feet. She's also devoted her Web site, www.moneylifelines.com, as a resource for what area banks are offering, which car finance companies are waiving payments and for how long and where to seek other financial help, like FEMA funding.
Florsheim says the placement of employees has been quick. By Thursday of last week, Lafayette General Medical Center had hired 35 nurses and three pharmacists, all evacuees, and the number is growing, says Director of Human Resources Diane Broussard. The hospital has various openings but is fast-tracking the hiring of nurses, already in short supply before the hurricane. For a list of opportunities, visit the hospital's job center at www.lafayettegeneral.com.
"We're currently treating 65-70 New Orleans area inpatients," says Donna Landry, LGMC's chief operating officer. "To put it in perspective," says Landry, "our inpatient daily census of 100-120 pre-Katrina has held at anywhere from 210-270-plus since Katrina."
Struggling to preserve their Senate majority, Democrats are attacking Republicans over Medicare and Social Security in Louisiana, spending cuts in Arkansas, off-shore jobs in New Hampshire and women's issues in Colorado.
Saints safety Kenny Vaccaro says he "can't wait" to play against Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers.
The heat keeps rising for Iberia Parish Sheriff Louis Ackal as a new slate of corruption allegations surfaced this week.
If opposing defenses sell out to stop the Packers' passing game, they risk being gashed by powerful running back Eddie Lacy, a New Orleans-area native.
At the horn the officiating crew trotted to the tunnel and left security personnel to clean up after them.
Friday's Blogs from the Bog!
Sign "ninjas" cleaning up clutter; NYC doctor positive for Ebola; Ferguson grand jury decision nears; and more national and international news for Friday, October 24, 2014.
We can safely assume incumbent Chief K.P. Gibson isn’t too worried about this challenger.
Nationally, Republicans must gain six seats to win Senate control. The most competitive races, many in states where Obama lost in 2012, remain too close to call.
The Baton Rouge Republican has repeatedly battled a perception within his own party that he perhaps wasn't the best choice to carry the GOP banner.
Even if Jimmy Graham's production dips while the star tight end recovers from a shoulder injury, it looks like Drew Brees won't have much trouble finding other targets.
A former campaign manager for Senate candidate Rob Maness is striking at the Republican contender's tea party support, saying Maness only sought to appeal to conservative organizations because he needed money for his campaign.
Ninety-two percent of public school teachers were rated either effective or highly effective in a report the state issued marking the second year of a new statewide evaluation process.
School board members Mark Babineaux, Hunter Beasley and Tehmi Chassion can vote to fire Cooper — because we all know that’s exactly what they’ll do.
District 2 school board candidate Simon Mahan is hoping to unseat first-term incumbent and former Carencro Mayor Tommy Angelle in the Nov. 4 election.
District Attorney Mike Harson is showing his desperation by falsely attributing quotes to his opponent and blocking journalists from his social media.
The governor is traveling the country laying the groundwork for a possible 2016 presidential campaign, but his approval ratings at home hover well below 50 percent.
State District Judge Bob Downing extended the order and delayed a planned Wednesday hearing about a permanent injunction while negotiations continue between Attorney General Buddy Caldwell and the waste disposal site operator.
New Louisiana higher education commissioner Joseph Rallo will be paid more than his predecessor.
Elijah McGuire and Alonzo Harris each had four rushing touchdowns, and Louisiana-Lafayette rolled to 419 yards on the ground in a 55-40 victory over Arkansas State on Tuesday night.
Bill and Hillary Clinton are the validators-in-chief for Democrats struggling through a bleak campaign season in states where President Barack Obama is deeply unpopular.
President Barack Obama is turning to black radio listeners to plead for midterm votes, a targeted approach to drum up Democratic support at a time when many candidates don't want him around in person.
"I am extremely disheartened by the political machines that are attempting to hijack my efforts along with others that advocate for children."
Landrieu, who is fighting to keep her seat for a fourth term, said that Ebola is serious and precautions should be taken, but she accused Republicans of using the virus outbreak in West Africa to "create fear" here at home.
Law enforcement agencies are participating in a "Louisiana Heroin Summit," designed to address the recent rise in heroin use and drug-related deaths around the state.