Katrina Evacuees Start Looking For Jobs

Many of the evacuees now staying in hotels and shelters in East Texas will be here for a while. That's why some have decided to go ahead and call Lufkin home. And with that decision comes the task of finding work.

Many of the evacuees now staying in East Texas are interested in making this area their permanent home. But for that to happen, it helps to have a job. That's why some are now hitting the pavement, looking for work.

"If you get out there and go you're gonna get you a job. But if you just sit around, you'll never know. So, the toughest thing is waiting for someone to respond back to you. So, if you put your foot forward, most likely somebody going to give you a job." says former New Orleans resident Trevor Matthews.

Anthony Masters has a job interview set up for Wednesday. He's hoping to get hired by Lufkin Industries. The company is recruiting welders, and encouraging evacuees to apply.

"I've been working since I was young just with faith, you know, I just gotta keep steppin'. I feel the boat has been put in front of me, and you know, I just gotta accept the help."

Workforce Solutions has set up desks at several East Texas shelters. On Tuesday alone, they've seen about 200 people, 100 just from Angelina County shelters.

"We can help folks there either assist them if they are eligible for unemployment insurance or disaster unemployment assistance, we can hook them up with the right phone numbers and right people to apply for that. And to get people matched up with job opportunities." says Charlene Meadows of Workforce Solutions.

Of course, all of this raises the question, could cities like Lufkin handle a sudden spike in population if many of these evacuees decide to stay?

"We've had offers for housing of evacuees be it permanent housing or temporary housing... the community has poured out a lot of offers for housing. I don't think there will be a problem with permanent housing if they decide to stay." says Lufkin Emergency Management Coordinator Kenneth Williams.

Many of these people are going to have to start their lives all over again. And a lot of them tell us, they're going to do it right here in East Texas.

If you are an employer who would like to post a job with Workforce solutions, you can call 1-800-695-6879.

And if you would like to take advantage of job placement assistance in Lufkin, you can call 639-1351.

In Nacogdoches, call 560-1441.