Stimulus money funds new jobs

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OAK RIDGE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- The U.S. Department of Energy plans to power up more than 1,500 new jobs in Oak Ridge. The jobs come after the DOE announced oak ridge added $755 million dollars for environmental clean-up projects.

DOE officials say the projects will require construction-type jobs as well as high technical skilled workers for handling handling hazardous waste materials.

The money's part of $6 billion dollars in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act the DOE's received for environmental clean-up work.

The government hopes the jobs not only tidy-up the oak ridge facilities, but also fix up the economy.

Big Ed's Pizza hope to see a delicate rise, not in its pizza, but in its sales.

"We sincerely hope it helps the local economy because the downtown is hurting every business," owner David Neusel said.

"It's" an added $755 million the U-S Department of Energy's plugging into it's Oak Ridge facilities. The DOE says that could power upwards 1,500 new jobs.

"We believe this is going to be a huge shot in the arm for the East Tennessee Community," DOE spokesman John Shewairy said.

The DOE says the federal economic stimulus cash will jump-stat environmental clean-up projects planned for years, but couldn't fund until now.

The will help demolish Manhattan-project era buildings and dispose remaining uranium enrichment plant buildings at the Oak Ridge National Lab, Y-12 National Security Complex, and East Tennessee Technology Park.

"Our position is the vast majority of that work is going to be subcontracted by our contractors," Shewairy said.

DOE officials say the job mostly will be for construction-related workers and hazardous waste removal.

"I feel like a preacher at a revival. I think it's great," Ray Whitehead, President of the Knoxville Building and Construction Trades Council, said.

Whitehead expects as many 900 jobs will go to those he represents.

"Hopefully we can have enough work to offer additional folks that are in the construction trade looking for jobs. Hopefully, we can increase membership rolls," Whitehead said.

But Whitehead says the jobs aren't open to just anyone.

"We have a contract where we provide the folks with skilled labor that has necessary training to do that work....You can't just show up and say I just lost my job at a manufacturing plant last week," Whitehead said.

Big Ed's managers wants the work cooks up their a share the of stimulus pie.

"You're certainly optimistic. It's a wait and see," Neusel said.

The clean-up funds are in addition to $71.2 million in stimulus cash ORNL was set to receive. That money will be used partly to build a new chemical lab

DOE officials say that could create as many as another 170 jobs.

The money's set to be spent over the next 2 and 1/2 years, but the DOE hopes to shift existing money to continue some of the new jobs.

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