Labor Seal NYS Department of Labor                          

Contact Leo Rosales Cell: 518-281-6167 Office: 518-457-5519 Email: leo.rosales@labor.ny.gov www.labor.ny.gov
"Gas Card" Program for Job Seekers Expanded Statewide
$6,250 per county made available by Labor Department to help unemployed workers look for work and obtain training and job-hunting services

Albany, NY (April 20, 2009) - State Labor Commissioner M. Patricia Smith announced today that additional transportation assistance for unemployed workers will be made available in 20 non-rural counties in New York State. Each Workforce Investment Board in these counties will receive $6,250 that may be used to help pay transportation expenses for unemployed workers to access services at One-Stop Career Centers, apply for jobs, attend interviews and receive training.

The money comes from federal funds allocated to New York State under the Workforce Investment Act, and may be used for the purchase of gas cards, swiper cards, or reimbursement of mileage or public transportation expenses. Each local Workforce Investment Board decides what transportation assistance is best for its area, and how the program will be administered. Assistance will be available within the next two weeks and will run until June 30, 2009, except in the five boroughs of New York City, where the program will begin around May 15th.

“We recognize that it is difficult to support one’s self or family on unemployment benefits alone, and many have difficulty paying for the added expenses of job hunting,” said Commissioner Smith. “We are pleased to be able to offer help with those extra transportation expenses, whether it’s taking the bus to a job interview in Albany or driving to the One-Stop Career Center in Newburgh to take a class.”

Commissioner Smith added that this program expands an initiative begun in February that provided gas cards to unemployed job seekers in 34 rural counties around the state. “We know that the unemployed in our suburban and urban counties also face transportation issues in their job hunt. This new initiative will help them and their families in these difficult times,” she said.

Workforce Investment Boards in the following counties will be receiving funds under this initiative: Albany, Bronx, Broome, Chemung, Dutchess, Kings, Nassau, New York, Niagara, Onondaga, Orange, Putnam, Queens, Rensselaer, Richmond, Rockland, Saratoga, Schenectady, Suffolk and Westchester. Workforce Investment Boards in Erie and Monroe Counties will be offering transportation assistance to unemployed workers, but will be using other funding sources to do so.

Unemployed workers in these counties should contact their local One-Stop Career Center for additional information and specific eligibility requirements. In general, recipients must be unemployed, actively looking for work, and registered with their local One-Stop Career Center to receive transportation assistance under this program.

One-Stop Career Centers are available throughout the state and are overseen by the NYS Department of Labor and local Workforce Investment Boards. Services are offered free of charge, and include career counseling, job search workshops, job listings, labor market information, and access to computer workstations and other resources. For more information about services offered by One-Stop Career Centers, including transportation assistance programs, go to the NYS Department of Labor’s web site at www.labor.ny.gov to find the location of and contact information for your local Center. One-Stop Career Centers are also listed in the blue pages of your telephone book under New York State, Labor Department.