Guam, CNMI included in $100M aid for laid-off workers


Non-essential businesses on Guam have been ordered closed under Gov. Lourdes Leon guerrero's public emergency declaration in an effort to contain further spread of coronavirus. Photo by Mar-Vic Cagurangan

U.S. territories stand to benefit from the federal government's $100 million funding aid for workers laid off nationwide as a result of Covid-19 pandemic that caused disaster to many businesses.

“Talking with the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Congressional Affairs, we confirmed that, yes, the Marianas is eligible, as are all states and insular areas, as well as Indian tribal governments," said Rep. Gregorio Kilili Sablan, the CNMI's delegate to Congress “Of course, $100 million will be used quickly with more and more Americans out of work because of the coronavirus. But this money is a down payment on much larger funding that we are preparing to pass in Congress this week.”

The federally-funded Dislocated Worker Grant program will provide eligible participants with both disaster-relief employment and employment and training activities.

These participants can include dislocated workers, workers who were laid-off as a result of the disaster, self-employed individuals who are unemployed or underemployed as a result of the disaster, and long-term unemployed individuals.

Sablan said eligible workers include those laid off after their employer’s business closes or who cannot go to their regular workplace because of the social distancing requirements in place to stop the spread of the disease. Workers, who miss work to care for a family member or who are quarantined because they are sick, are also eligible. Self-employed individuals, too, who are unemployed or underemployed because of the virus, qualify for the help.

Rep Gregorio Kilii Sablan