Orange County Hurricane Maria Recovery Update
From Orange County Commissioner Bryan Nelson
Orange County continues its recovery efforts in helping evacuees from Puerto Rico in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria. These continued efforts would certainly not be possible without the County’s various support agencies.
CareerSource Central Florida has placed staff at the Orlando International Airport (OIA), Osceola Heritage Park (OHP), and the Seminole County Library’s Casselberry Branch to welcome evacuees and offer resources. This organization is staffing the OIA location 7 days a week with 3 staff members a day on split shifts of 8:30-7 p.m. and 4-7 p.m.; there are 2-3 staff on each shift that are bilingual in English and Spanish. The role of staff is to welcome and provide resources to evacuees about CareerSource Central Florida’s services, hiring events, options, etc., as well as refer them to the organization’s Southeast and Osceola Career Services Centers when necessary; staff are referring evacuees to the Career Services Center that is closest to them. Currently, CareerSource Central Florida plans to staff the OIA location for a minimum of 30 days. Since October 3rd, the organization has provided workforce services, including resume preparation, a connection to the Employ Florida jobs database, interview preparation, and career fairs, to over 14,000 people at an average of 615 people per day.
There are 2 bilingual staff members at the Osceola Heritage Park location from 9-4 p.m., 7 days a week. Staff at this location are assisting with Employ Florida registrations, resume assistance, mock interviews, job referrals, etc., and hosted a Hospitality Industry Job Fair for those impacted by the hurricanes on October 21st at the Osceola Career Services Center. Additionally, CareerSource Central Florida conducted a Career Fair featuring 40 employers at the Center on October 21st to connect evacuees to jobs; another hiring fair is expected to occur on November 16th with the assistance of WKMG Channel 6. Furthermore, starting on October 27th, CareerSource Central Florida has had its Mobile Unit onsite to provide additional work-related resources. To date, the Osceola Heritage park location has seen an average of 30 people per day and a total of 360.
The Casselberry Library location was deactivated during the week of October 16th. 2 staff members were bilingual and offered assistance in providing information on Emergency Reemployment Assistance as well as the services offered by CareerSource Central Florida.
Under State Executive Order 17-259 and a Host State Agreement, the State of Florida has established a Disaster Relief Center at the OIA. The Center’s operational hours are from 9:00 a.m.-8:00 p.m. daily. During the week of October 13th-19th, the following flight arrival information on evacuees from Puerto Rico was collected by Orange County Emergency Management: 2,019 passengers total on 10 flights for October 13th; 1,994 passengers total on 12 flights for October 14th; 1,847 passengers total on 11 flights for October 15th; 1,553 passengers total on 10 flights for October 16th; 1,969 passengers total on 12 flights for October 17th; 2,073 passengers total on 14 flights for October 18th; and 2,019 passengers total on 12 flights for October 19th. For this particular week, a total of 81 flights transported 13,474 evacuees to OIA; the total number of passengers that had arrived from Puerto Rico between October 3rd-10th was 29,830.
Orange County Emergency Management had also collected the following information on the evacuees who had been served between October 3rd-19th: 414 evacuees came as a single person; 1,056 of the evacuees were families; 762 were served upon arrival; 3,903 were served in total; and the total number of flights from San Juan was 187.
The Disaster Relief Center has 36 support agencies, including but not limited to: American Red Cross; Florida Emergency Management Agency (FEMA); Florida Health-Orange County; LYNX; Orange County Department of Family Services; Orange County Public Schools; Second Harvest Food Bank; United Way; University of Central Florida (UCF); and Valencia College.
Orange County, along with the State of Florida, has and will continue to take part in the efforts to assist evacuees from Puerto Rico with employment, educational, housing, and financial needs.