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Monday, March 30, 2009

Stimulus Jobs Already Starting Before Money Arrives

March 23, 2009, By GARY CHITTIM / KING 5 News

BURIEN, Wash. – Federal stimulus checks haven’t arrived in Washington state yet, but some agencies aren’t waiting around. They’re already ramping up, and it’s having an economic effect.

A month ago, his Ben Uskoski’s contracting business was tanking and he had to make a decision.

"I was an electrician before I went out on my own so I said, ‘I can do electrical work,’” said Uskoski.

That proved to be the right decision because Michael Kim of Advance Energy Management just happened to need electricians -- a lot of them.

"Put an ad out on Craigslist and literally got bombarded with phone calls in the first couple of hours,” said Kim.

One of the first was Uskoski and the stimulus trigger was pulled.

Kim needed 23 electricians to weatherize a low income housing apartment complex in South King County. Usoski called everyone he knew and 23 electricians suddenly went from laid off to gainfully employed, installing new energy efficient light fixtures and bathroom fans in the sprawling complex.

That's when he gave Platt Electric down in Tacoma a call.

"He asked me if I was sitting down, then when this first came up and just the magnitude of the order was phenomenal,” said Doug Lind of Platt Electric.

Platt suddenly had enough demand during an economic downturn keep his workers busy and prevent any more layoffs.

It all started with a King County Housing Authority weatherization project that is funded by federal stimulus dollars that aren't expected until next month, but are already putting food some local tables.

But this is a very small example. It will be some time before we see how it plays out on a much grander national scale.

View video of this report here: http://www.king5.com/video/index.html?nvid=344809&shu=1

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