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Cities Win Grants to Aid Hardest-to-Place Jobseekers.

The U.S. Department of Labor has awarded more than a dozen cities millions of dollars to develop innovative strategies to move the hardest-to-employ welfare recipients into jobs.

Vice President Al Gore announced the 75 grantees at a town hall meeting on welfare reform in Washington, D.C. on November 20, 1998. The cities will receive funding from the Department of Labor's $3 billion welfare-to-work program.

Although states are reporting declining welfare caseloads, cities are facing the challenge of assisting persons with multiple barriers in finding work.

Too often, homelessness, substance abuse, alcoholism, lack of child care, and limited basic skills pose major obstacles in obtaining employment. Cities are taking the lead in forging public-private partnerships to provide welfare recipients the support and training they need to get jobs.

Secretary of Health and Human Services Donna Shalala, Secretary of Labor Alexis Herman, employers, former welfare recipients, grant recipients and members of the Vice President's Welfare to Work Coalition to Sustain Success were part of the event.

Secretary Herman emphasized that the grantees were committed to restoring strength to families as a strategy to help people achieve economic self-sufficiency. "We are moving people from welfare to work, and we mean moving out of dead-end jobs to ones with career paths," Secretary Herman said.

Cities will work with employers and non-profit groups, including faith-based organization to provide counseling, child care, health services, transportation and other supports to help people make the transition from welfare to work. Cities receiving welfare-to-work grants include:

Long Beach, Calif.

City of Long Beach Department of Community Development--to provide employment, post-employment, and supportive services to participants of the Family Self-sufficiency program and noncustodial parents. The Housing Authority of the City of Long Beach will provide funding for individual development accounts.

City and County of Denver, Colo.

This grant, for $3.59 million, will move people off welfare into jobs in targeted industries such as long-term and home health care industry. The project includes integrated work and learning opportunities.

City of Savannah, Ga.

Savannah will receive funds to create a Work Activity Center to provide pre-employment training, non-traditional child care and transportation services, including a car donation program to help participants who need transportation access jobs in the suburbs. The city will also use the funds to help participants obtain training to start their own small businesses.

City of Gary, Ind.

The Department of Health & Human Services will receive funding to develop its FUTURES Program to offer participants a choice of services that include on-the-job training program, entrepreneurial training program, or short-term specific vocational training program in occupations that match their interest, aptitudes, abilities, and the labor market demand.

City of Topeka, Kan.

This program will prepare and move welfare recipients into local industries that have job shortages.

Highlights of the project include extended transportation during evening, night and weekend hours as well as transportation to child care providers. Participants may also receive substance abuse and mental health treatment.

City New Orleans, La.

Money will go to expand the New Orleans Welfare-to-Work Collaborative, an organization made up of more than 60 businesses, service providers and consumer representatives. The project will offer support services for substance abusing mothers and noncustodial parents of children receiving welfare benefits. An information and rapid response line will serve to keep employers aware of the incentives available to those who hire participants and to address any workplace problems that may arise.

City of Baltimore, Md.

The intent here, is to pilot a community employment support model for parents and noncustodial parents of children living in Gilmore Homes, an economically distressed public housing community.

The program is carried out through the City Office of Employment Development. After up to six months of work in a supported environment, participants will be placed into unsubsidized employment in such industries as health, human services, construction and customer service/retail.

City of Minneapolis, Minn.

Funding will support the Fostering Actions To Help Earning and Responsibility (FATHER) program for noncustodial fathers.

Participants will have access to job counselors, a database of job openings and transportation that will help participants from the city reach jobs in the suburbs.

Details: For a complete list of grantees by state, see the U.S. Department of Labor website: www.doleta.gov.

RELATED ARTICLE: NLC Workshop on Youth and Jobs

To learn more about successful city welfare-to-work efforts, attend the following sessions at the Congress of Cities: "Beyond Summer Jobs: Preparing Youth for the Global Economy," Friday, December 4, 1998 from 1:30 to 3 p.m. in Room 4201B and "Make Work Pay: City Strategies for Reducing Poverty," Saturday, December 5, 1998, 11:00 a.m. to 12:15 p.m Room 4203B.
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Title Annotation:numerous cities to implement welfare to work programs
Author:Rosenblum, Susan
Publication:Nation's Cities Weekly
Article Type:Brief Article
Date:Nov 30, 1998
Words:778
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