The program developed by Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and her donors to employ young, out-of-work people in Flint, Michigan will benefit fewer than 100 of the city’s 10,000 unemployed.
“We are in the process of recruiting employees, and so far we have received hundreds of applications for positions across Flint,” Dartanyan T. Jamerson, the director of workforce development at the Mott Community College Workforce Development Department — the group tasked with administering the Flint WaterWorks initiative — told The Daily Caller News Foundation.
Jamerson expects the $500,000 donation from multi-billionaire philanthropist power couple, J.B. and M.K. Pritzker, to benefit between 50 and 100 youngsters. The lion’s share of the donation will go toward transporting the unemployed young people so they can commute to places where they plan to hand out water.
Jamerson said the department was given more than 100 applications so far, but has not yet hired anyone to fill positions. The department received the donation last week and is in the process of dolling out applications.
The Flint WaterWorks initiative started in March to put unemployed youth to work distributing clean water, healthy food and nutritional information and services to families affected by the city’s lead-poisoning crisis.
The amount of people helped by the initiative is small compared to the number of Flint residents who are out of work. More than 10,000 people in the Michigan city were unemployed at the end of March, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The overall unemployment rate in the crisis-plagued city is 5.5 percent, down from more than 10 percent in 2013.
“Its definitely for infrastructure and the water needs of Flint citizens,” Jamerson said about the sizable donation. “But there are also efforts underway to replace the outgoing positions currently held by National Guard members and other federal employees with those potentially being employed through this program.”
The donation, he said, will also likely be used for the youngsters after the water crisis is resolved.
“There is always the possibility that we will get more donations from other groups for similar work programs in Flint,” Jamerson said,”but we’ll have to wait and see.”
The Pritzkers philanthropic organization has given between $10 million and $25 million to the Clinton Foundation since its creation, including between $5 million and $10 million in 2014, according to data from OpenSecrets.org. The Pritzkers are also one of Clinton’s top ten campaign contributors – in fact, they make up nearly 40 percent of Clinton’s entire $48-million-presidential-campaign war chest.
Chelsea Clinton and Flint Mayor Karen Weaver forged a bond in early March during a news conference shortly before the state’s Democratic presidential primary. Clinton attempted to assure people at the conference the Flint WaterWorks initiative is not a political ploy meant to give her mother a one-up in Michigan during the presidential election.
“For my mother and for me, this is not political,” Chelsea Clinton said at a news conference. “It is deeply personal and I think it should be personal to every American. … [We want] to see the children of Flint as our children and to see the youth in Flint, as the mayor says, as being a promising youth for Flint and really our country.”
Flint has been beset with controversies ever since revelations last year the city bungled efforts to transfer its water source from the Detroit River to the Flint River. The shift resulted in lead poisoning of Flint’s water supply.
Natasha Henderson, the former city administrator of Flint, claimed in a lawsuit filed Monday that she was terminated from her job after raising concerns Weaver’s office redirected funds meant for victims of the water crisis towards the mayor’s campaign fund.
The lawsuit claims Weaver directed city employees to stop potential donations to a charity called Safe Water/Safe Homes in February. The Community Foundation of Greater Flint was specifically set up for the purpose of helping those affected by Flint’s poisoned water.
Michigan’s Attorney General Bill Schuette filed federal charges in April against three low-level Flint environmental employees for their roles in allowing lead to leach into the city’s water supply, the New York Times reported.
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