Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), the nation’s cash welfare assistance program established in 1996, is overdue for congressional reauthorization. The recently reauthorized Workforce Innovation Opportunity Act (WIOA), passed with bi-partisan support, encourages greater collaboration with TANF and other agencies funding workforce and related services. While the New York State WIOA plan voices commitment to partnership across workforce programs, local areas are left with wide latitude to coordinate as they see fit.
On June 7, the Workforce Field Building Hub, in partnership with the New York Association of Training and Employment Professionals (NYATEP) brought together workforce experts from across the country to share their insights and expertise about the opportunities, challenges, and changes arising as their state or locality moved toward integrating their public welfare and workforce systems. More than 70 workforce and policy professionals from throughout New York City and the state learned about integration efforts in Dallas, TX (Laurie Bouillion Larrea, President and CEO of Workforce Solutions Greater Dallas), Philadelphia, PA (H. Patrick Clancy, President and CEO of Philadelphia Works), and the state of Michigan (Luann Dunsford, CEO of Michigan Works! Association), some of which began more than two decades ago.
Stephen Pimpare, Senior Lecturer and Faculty Fellow at the University of New Hampshire and author of multiple books, articles and essays on poverty, welfare and inequality, served as the convening’s keynote speaker. His address, “What makes people poor? (and what can we do about it?)”, was followed responses from NYC Human Resources Administration Commissioner Steven Banks and NYS Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance Executive Deputy Commissioner Barbara Guinn., moderated by NYC Mayor’s Office of Workforce Development Executive Director Barbara Chang.
The Hub and NYATEP will release a brief this summer, summarizing takeaways from the convening, elevating important questions raised by attendees for deeper consideration, and providing links to resources and reports on integration efforts in other states.