The trade association serving the natural stone industry, The Marble Institute of America, (MIA) said it is mobilizing its membership to help stone workers displaced by Hurricane Katrina find new jobs. The 1,300 member, Cleveland based organization is also raising funds for the victims. In addition to an initial $5000 contribution, MIA has vowed to match any relief donation made by one of its staff members. In addition, it has also expanded its websitewww.marble-institute.comto include a "Hurricane Relief." area created to help affected members and their employees find other members who have volunteered assistance.

"MIA is committed to playing a role in marshalling the stone industry's response to this catastrophe," said Gary Distelhorst, executive vice president of an organization which has more than 1300 members around the world representing every facet of the business.

Distelhorst said the space made available on the MIA website will allow affected members the opportunity to find other members who have voluntarily offered assistance in hiring displaced employees, etc. He added that a number of members have already posted job openings for displaced workers in such wide-ranging areas as Florida, South Carolina, Texas, and New Jersey.

The website also includes a partial list of organizations accepting contributions to assist the victims.