Stimulus Money Gives Local Man a Job

Realtime Transcription 11/04/09

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The economy may be on its way to recovery. The "Cash for Clunkers" program drove consumer spending up more than 22%, but the nation's unemployment rate is at its highest level in 26 years. There was a debate last week over the true number of jobs created or saved by the Federal Stimulus Program. No matter what the final number turns out to be, TV 20's Robert Bradfield reports on one Gainesville worker whose career was stimulated by the federal program. >> For 28-year-old Lee Lefkowitz, life has certainly been an uphill battle. He was born deaf and couldn't find work for more than a year after graduating from the University of Miami in 2008 with a business degree. But in July, things started looking up. LEE LEFKOWITZ: I have always wanted to work for a federal agency, so this gave me the greatest opportunity that I could ask for. >> Four months ago, Lefkowitz was able to find a job, thanks to Florida's Vocational Rehabilitation program. They partnered with the Social Security Administration, and with the stimulus money passed earlier this year, jobs were created to help those with disabilities. Lefkowitz' was one of the thousands of jobs that the White House says have been saved or created since the stimulus was passed. But the program didn't just land Lefkowitz a job; they helped with his schooling. LEE LEFKOWITZ: They also assisted me with my hearing aids, eyeglasses, things like that; things that would allow me to go to college and things like that. They also paid for my books. They were very helpful in what they did. >> Lefkowitz is a claims representative for this Gainesville office. He works with the public and takes claims for retirement, survivors and disability insurance. His boss says he was a perfect fit. DONNA MAITLAND: His resume', his charisma, his initiative, his enthusiasm about the job, just his overall personality. >> Lefkowitz says it's his turn now to help those who need it. In a way, he said he's paying it forward. LEE LEFKOWITZ: Returning the favor to those people and providing that public service. >> Lefkowitz plans on getting his MBA and now joins the more than 8,000 Floridians who have found jobs through Vocational Rehabilitation. Robert Bradfield, TV20 News.
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There was a recent debate last week over how many jobs were created or saved by the economic stimulus money signed into law earlier this year. But, for one local man, there's no debate in determining the money made a big difference.
Through a pilot program between the social security administration and the division of vocational rehabilitation, Lee Lefkowitz managed to find a job. Vocational Rehabilitation is committed to helping people with disabilities become part of America's workforce. Lefkowitz was born deaf and couldn't find work for more than a year after graduating from the Univeristy of Miami in 2008.
Lefkowitz works as a claims representative and takes claims for retirement, survivors and disability insurance. He says it's his turn now to help those who need it.
"It's kind of nice to be able to return the favor to other people who are now disabled and you know kind of return the favor and provide that public service," says Lefkowitz.
Lefkowitz plans on getting his MBA and now joins the more than eight thousand Floridians who found jobs through vocational rehabilitation.