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With Rebuilding Necessary, Rockaway Residents Look For Jobs

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As efforts begin to rebuild and restore what Sandy destroyed, there will be a growing need for an army of workers to do it, and people who were among the hardest hit by the storm hope many of those jobs will be theirs. NY1's Dean Meminger filed the following report.

Sandy left behind plenty of devastation, so there's plenty of cleanup and construction work that needs doing. On Thursday afternoon, scores of people showed up to Mount Carmel Baptist church looking for those jobs.

"This community was in trouble way before Hurricane Sandy," said Rev. Raymond Blanchette of the Clergy Campaign for Social and Economic Justice. "So now, if there is a silver lining, that silver lining has to be to make sure they get jobs."

Sandy is estimated to have caused tens of billions of dollars in damage across the city and the region. Among the hardest hit areas in the city are the poor and working class communities in the Rockaways.

The Clergy Campaign for Social and Economic Justice, along with Laborers Union Local 10, told the crowd that they're trying to sign residents up for the union to help them get good paying construction jobs.

"It's the jobs of the elected officials to make sure that the community gets the jobs," said Lavon Chambers of Laborers Union Local 10. "But we can make sure is that the work that we're going after, Laborers Local 10, that we won't import workers, that whatever jobs that we have, that we're represented here, that we'll draw from the community pool."

The clergy said they'll make sure that happens.

"The people who have been hurt the most are the ones that are going to get the jobs to rebuild their communities," Blanchette said.

Social media, text messages and emails have all been buzzing with information about job opportunities, but for those desperately looking for work, it has been confusing, because some of the opportunities are real and others aren't.

I was told that you come here, you sign your name and everything, and that there were going to be jobs available, and I get here and that's not the case," said one person. "It was just a little misinformation. I really thought I was getting a job."

He said he's still happy that someone is trying to help him land a job. But it remains to be seen how many jobs will go to local residents.

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