Employers, government officials rise to Katrina’s job challenge

The hurricane left more than one million people unemployed and searching for jobs across the southern United States
|hrreporter.com|Last Updated: 11/02/2005

Hurricane Katrina devastated millions of lives when it hit the American Gulf Coast at the end of August. Unknown thousands are dead, and many more have lost everything — their homes, their possessions and their livelihoods.

Employers, governments and Internet job boards are rising to the challenge of helping evacuees from the the affected areas rebuild their lives by connecting them with jobs.


, an Internet job board, is providing free job positing to hiring managers who want to hire those affected by Katrina and free resume posting for job seekers.

“Our goal in the weeks and months to come will be to help those affected to find work so they can take care of their families,” said Craig Silverman, HireAbility’s executive vice president.

The U.S. Department of Labor announced the creation of an Internet-based job bank, the

Katrina Recovery Job Connection

, on Monday.

The website will help connect workers affected by the hurricane with employers who want to hire them. The website will also connect people who wish to help in the clean-up and rebuilding efforts with available jobs.

Officials in Texas, Tennessee, Georgia and other southern states have also started programs to link evacuees with employers.

Employers in Louisiana and Mississippi are extending salaries to employees affected by the natural disaster. Many companies are posting their policies on their websites or reaching out to employees through other methods.

Hilton Hotels is paying its displaced staff for 90 days and is setting up an emergency disbursement fund. A spokesperson for the company said that contacting affected employees has presented a big challenge for its HR professionals, since many of the employees don’t have Internet access.

To overcome this obstacle, Hilton is using public service announcements on radio and TV stations in cities where most of the employees have relocated, including Houston, Memphis, Dallas and San Antonio.

More than 2,800 people worked for Marriott International in the greater New Orleans area before Katrina hit the historic city. The hotel chain announced it will pay its associates through Sept. 30. McDonald’s said it will continue paying salaries for displaced staff and restaurant employees.

New Orleans employees of the U.S. Equal employment Opportunity Commission were placed on paid administrative leave until the offices re-open and Union Pacific will continue to pay workers who are unable to work due to the hurricane for up to one month.

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