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Program to help furloughed Rock Island Arsenal employees find temporary work

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Friday marks the end of the fourth week of furloughs for 6,000 workers at the Rock Island Arsenal. As those people are trying to make it work, one Quad Cities organization is trying to help.

"I think people are still kind of in a state of shock, really that it’s actually happened,” said Steve Beck.

He is one of 6,000 Rock Island Arsenal employees who are on their fourth week of furloughs. He is also the President of American Federation of Government Employees Local 15, representing about half of the Rock Island Arsenal’s furloughed employees. Many of the employees are feeling the effects of the forced time off.

"Financial distress, people are having difficulties maybe on their house or their car,” said Beck.

"The workforce skill set on the arsenal ranges from engineering, accounting,” said Jillian McCleary. McCleary is with the Quad Cities Chamber of Commerce. As part of Hooah Quad Cities, they’ve created Support Those Who Support The Troops, connecting furloughed employees with businesses looking for part time or temporary workers.

"Part of our job is to help make sure the arsenal maintains a national asset and that our economy stays vibrant,” said McCleary.

The program was launched Thursday and already has nine job openings including Fork Lift Operator, Receptionist, and Welder.

"Within the first hour that we sent this out, we had half a dozen staffing agencies responding,” said McCleary.

"We felt this was the perfect opportunity to let our community help each other in that this proponent of the arsenal is a huge part of our local economy,” said Kelly Wainwright of Chenhall’s Staffing Agency.

"It offers them the opportunity to offset some of the money that they've lost through taking on an additional job or hours of work,” said Beck.

Helping to cover an estimated 20% loss in income per employee.

The program is scheduled until September 30th, but would continue if sequestration continued.

To visit Support Those Who Support The Troops click on this link: http://www.hooahquadcities.com/support.html

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