In recent weeks, EPA has been announcing grants for projects around the region from the $300 million allocated for the 2011 fiscal year. The final $6 million from that pot of money will go to the unemployment initiative, said Susan Hedman, EPA's regional administrator in Chicago.
Supporters of the Great Lakes initiative have said repeatedly it would stimulate the region's economy and create jobs. The newly announced program is unique because it specifically targets jobless workers, said Phillippa Cannon, spokeswoman for the agency's Chicago office.
Hedman said the initiative is similar to the Civilian Conservation Corps, the Depression-era program that put the unemployed to work.
Would be great to see every government agency implement something like this, or at the least maybe make more grant money available to private entities that make provisions for hiring currently unemployed workers. Not sure if it could be done at this point, with all funding under assault from the "destroy government" faction in Congress, but perhaps something could be slipped in the coming budget...