Above: the HOVENSA refinery
By the Caribbean Journal staff
The US Virgin Islands will be receiving a $7.84 million National Emergency Grant from the US Department of Labour to assist more than 1,200 workers impacted by the closure of the HOVENSA oil refinery in St Croix.
HOVENSA was the territory’s single-largest employer and the largest oil refinery in the Caribbean.
“The HOVENSA refinery’s closure was a significant blow to many workers, as well as the community at large,” Labour Secretary Hilda Solis said in a statement. “The federal funding announced today will provide reemployment services to help individuals impacted by the layoffs find good jobs in high-growth industries.”
The grant will help prepare dislocated workers for employment, with $3.63 million to be released in the first stage.
The remainder of the funding will be released as the Virgin Islands demonstrates a continued need for help.
“Today’s announcement reflects the Labour Department’s commitment to address the effects of HOVENSA’s closure on the St Croix community and the federal interagency collaboration needed to address the challenges faced by all US territories,” Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said in a statement.