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2005 — Helping Hurricane Katrina Evacuees

20th Anniversary of the Utah Department of Workforce Services


Workforce Services was recognized by Governor Jon Huntsman for successfully helping evacuees in a time of need. When Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast in August 2005, Utah stepped up to help by providing food stamps, cash assistance and child care grants to nearly 600 evacuees at Camp Williams.

Eligibility Staff from the Central Region and Unemployment Insurance (UI) Claims Takers helped respond to this effort by approving emergency public assistance and unemployment insurance. Utah was also one of fifteen states that helped Louisiana take their UI initial claims over the phone.


Workforce Services job fair at camp williams in September 2005. 25 employers. 85 evacuees. 44 landed jobs. 19 secured 2nd interviews.

Workforce Services helps evacuees at Camp Williams from Hurricane Katrina.
Tani Pack Downing, former executive director of Workforce Services, talks about the department's support of Hurricane Katrina evacuees.
Governor Jon Huntsman thanks Tani Pack Downing and Jon Pierpont for their leadership and services to Hurricane Katrina evacuees.
Rebecca Anderson and Tricia Cox, program specialists, helping at Camp Williams.
The Utah Weatherization Assistance Program repaired homes on the Navajo Reservation so that they could be weatherized.
2005 Richfield Employment Center team.
2005 Workforce Services Senior Management Team.
Tani Pack Downing becomes the third executive director of the Department of Workforce Services in 2005. She had served as general counsel and director of the Division of Adjudication since 2002. Prior to joining the department, she served as an associate general counsel for the Legislature for seven years.
Irina Pierpont, Rebecca Banner, Cassy Hahn and Rebecca Anderson.
Matthew Larson and Casey Cameron from Eligibility OPS at a fair.
2005 Central Region Program Team.
Support at OPS training fair at Admin South.
Emily DeRocco (former assistant secretary at U.S. Department of Labor) presents an award to Connie Laws, Jane Broadhead and John Nixon.
Melissa Finch and Jay Butler in 2005.

  • Utah became the first state in the nation to move to 100 percent electronic Unemployment Insurance benefit payments
  • In support of Governor Huntsman’s proclamation of “Hire the Veteran Month”, the department mailed 45,000 letters to Utah employers promoting the hiring of veterans
  • First Work Ability Job Fair held for jobseekers with disabilities
Coming up next.