An Oxfam America report, Beyond Recovery demonstrated how projects funded by RESTORE will accelerate the growth of a new industry across the Gulf Coast, employing thousands through companies like Weeks Marine, The Shaw Group, Atkins and the Louisiana firm, Royal Engineering, which has seen its company size triple as a result of similar projects. These engineering and dredging companies will hire workers at all skill levels for these projects including engineers and scientists, but also welders, boat and heavy equipment operators, and deck hands to name a few. This is an opportunity to have real impact for working families along the coast by providing a real pathway to long term good paying jobs, all the while making their communities safer when the next storm hits.
Oxfam has been advocating for workforce development and training funds within the RESTORE Act as a way to decrease the social vulnerability of impacted communities living on the coast. We have been working with faith groups along with a variety of companies in the private sector to let Senators know why RESTORE has such great potential for creating much needed jobs. Oxfam supporters have been weighing in all week with calls to their Senators, helping push the bill forward.
Now, it is the House’s turn to vote on a similar measure. If they do, they will be supporting Gulf coast communities and the many people there that rely on a healthy environment for both their lives and their livelihoods.
Tamir is a senior advocacy advisor for the U.S. Regional Office, Oxfam America.