Hurricane Katrina displaced some 1 million people from their jobs in New Orleans, coastal Mississippi, and Alabama. The devastation was worst in areas populated by a workforce serving largely local economies — including remodeling — that, for the time being, no longer exist. As REMODELING goes to press, a growing number of Web sites and organizations are retooling their services to help match the newly unemployed with prospective employers hundreds or thousands of miles away.

Travel and housing assistance may be required, but there may never be a better opportunity to find experienced construction workers while helping people rebuild their lives. A few such services:

  • NARI (the National Association of the Remodeling Industry) created a job board to connect contractors with craftsmen and women displaced by Katrina. Contractors need not be NARI members to post openings.
  • The U.S. Department of Labor created the Katrina Recovery Job Connection. or
  • The Web site of the New Orleans Times-Picayune, has a “Back to Work” forum. Among employers that posted openings in the weeks post-Katrina were a Midwestern engineering company, a Florida construction company, and a Virginia backhoe company.
  • Craig's List is an online community that operates in dozens of U.S. cities, including New Orleans. Employers can post free ads for job openings directed at Katrina survivors. or
  • provides links to various Katrina-related employment sites and organizations.
  • Numerous state and local agencies and workforce boards, chambers of commerce, and other business groups are also sponsoring job fairs and other efforts to help hurricane victims find jobs.