Media Contact: Laura Byrnes, APR, CPRC
Communications Manager
Office: 352.291.9559 | Mobile: 352.816.1264
Email: [email protected]


Local businesses stepping up to hire Puerto Rico refugees

OCALA, Fla. (Dec. 5, 2017) – CareerSource Citrus Levy Marion can help those displaced by Hurricane Maria connect with employment opportunities and support services.

In addition to fee-free employment services, those here because of Hurricane Maria may be eligible for Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA) through the Puerto Rico Department of Labor.

Brenda Chrisman, career centers and business services officer for CareerSource CLM, said that local employers such as Central Florida Electric of Ocala and On Top of the World have expressed interest in hiring Puerto Rican refugees.

“What we’re really looking for now is help from the community to get the word out to those whose current priority is getting back on their feet while they are here,” Chrisman said.

Puerto Rico, home to 3.4 million US citizens, took a direct hit from the nearly Category 5 cyclone on September 20 – just two weeks after being strafed by Hurricane Irma. Hurricane Maria, described as a “50-to-60-mile wide tornado (that) raged across Puerto Rico like a buzz saw,” caused widespread damage and knocked out power which has not yet been fully restored.

Chrisman said that CareerSource CLM is among the 24 regions in the CareerSource Florida network committed to a strong Puerto Rico response effort.

Services are available in English and Spanish and include employment referrals, resume assistance, training and internship opportunities and access to additional funds and partner programs.

DUA provides financial assistance to individuals whose employment or self-employment has been lost or interrupted as a direct result of a major disaster declared by the President of the United States and who are not eligible for regular unemployment insurance (UI) benefits.

Those interested in filing a DUA claim may do so online at An initial Unemployment Insurance (UI) claim may be filed by clicking on Reclamación Inicial (Initial Services) and a continued UI claim may be filed by clicking on Reclamación Semanas Subsiguientes (Claim Subsequent Weeks).

For assistance with the DUA application and filing process and/or employment services, those in Citrus or Levy counties should call 800-434-JOBS (5627), ext. 1119. Those in Ocala/Marion County should call 352-840-5700, ext. 1119 or visit the Career Center at 2703 NE 14thSt., in Ocala.

The center is open Monday-Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

For more information, contact Ilianette Hernandez at 800-434-5627, ext. 1119 or visit


CareerSource Citrus Levy Marion is a member of the CareerSource Florida network of workforce services and resources. CareerSource Citrus Levy Marion is an equal opportunity employer/program. Auxiliary aids and services are available upon request to individuals with disabilities. All voice telephone numbers listed above may be reached by persons using TTY/TDD equipment via the Florida Relay Service at 711. If you need accommodations, please call 800-434-5627, ext. 7878 or e-mail [email protected]. Please make request at least three business days in advance. Like us on Facebook follow us on TwitterGoogle+ and LinkedIn.

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