A Brief History:
The Department of Public Welfare mandates that welfare recipients who are able to work be required to search for, accept and maintain employment as a condition of their eligibility for assistance. In 1987, DPW established partnerships with the Departments of Labor and Industry and Education to create the Single Point of Contact (SPOC) Program. SPOC (now known as “EARN” [Employment Advancement and Retention Network] ) offers job placement services, intensive case management, education and vocational training, childcare and enhanced supportive services to help welfare clients obtain unsubsidized employment. Pennsylvania's welfare reform plan, Act 1996-35, was signed into law on May 16, 1996. It established the Road to Economic Self-Sufficiency Through Employment and Training (RESET) Program. On August 22, 1996, the federal Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunities Reconciliation Act (PRWORA) was enacted and signed into law, consolidating existing programs into the Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF). TANF ended cash entitlement by limiting receipt of cash assistance to five years in a person's lifetime and imposed work requirements for most recipients. TANF was implemented in Pennsylvania on March 3, 1997. Since then, there has been a substantial reduction in the welfare caseload. Many clients were successful in moving from welfare to work on their own or were helped through services such as the TCWIB Welfare Initiative Programs that provide employment and training programs. We provide services in Butler, Armstrong and Indiana Counties.
Welfare Initiative Services:
Employment Advancement and Retention Network (EARN)
The EARN Program was developed in 1987 in order to address the needs of welfare clients with barriers to employment. The program design focuses on a collaboration of local Workforce Investment Area (WIA) fiscal agents; Bureau of Workforce Development Partnership representatives and County Assistance Office (CAO) staff; intensified case management; specially developed remediation, education and training activities; work activities; job placement and retention services, specialized skills training, supportive services and child care targeted to welfare clients with serious employment barriers.
EARN is designed to provide comprehensive education, training of work activities, job placement and retention, supportive services and child care when needed by welfare recipients to enable them to move rapidly from welfare to work. All clients receive a comprehensive vocational assessment, upon program enrollment. Once enrolled in the program, clients are eligible to receive intensive case management, literacy training, adult basic education, GED prep, classroom and vocational skills training, paid work experience, job readiness training, job search assistance, job development, placement and retention services.
In addition, a centralized community service/paid work experience site, which is supervised by the EARN Program, has been established to allow a centralized location for clients to obtain skills needed to function in the commonworkplace. The Shine Again boutique is located at 245 Butler Road, Kittanning, PA and can also be found on Facebook: search Shine Again. Shine Again is a second hand retail store that accepts donations from the general public. Clothing is sorted, cleaned, tagged and stocked for public sale; all work is completed by EARN Program participants.
Local Management Committee (LMC):
The Local Management Committee was created in order to provide County Assistance Offices with the ability to ensure that welfare clients receive the best possible service during their participation in the EARN program. The purpose of the LMC is to bring together local organizations that have the greatest impact on welfare clients’ ability to become self-sufficient. The LMC has programmatic and financial management responsibility for the operation of the Department of Public Welfare programs funded through the Workforce Investment Board. The LMC is responsible for planning service delivery, selecting vendors and ensuring that clients receive quality service that meets their individual needs. The LMC consists of representatives from the WIA fiscal agent, County Assistance Offices, Bureau of Workforce Development Partnership and a Local Education Agency.