Resources & Publications

In Focus

Aug 26, 2016  |  PERMALINK »

CLASP highlights model IET programs

By Judy Mortrude

CLASP has released a new memo in our WIOA Game Plan Opportunities for Action series. The memo highlights several career pathway models that utilize Integrated Education and Training (IET) programs for participants at every skill level.

The final Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) regulations, released in July 2016, provide assurance and incentives for adult education, workforce development, and postsecondary education partners to design and implement a key strategy in career pathways.

IET is a promising practice based in adult learning theory. Through IET programs, participants seek goal-oriented, relevant, practical knowledge. Providing education that truly leads to economic mobility offsets the opportunity costs for individuals with family and work responsibilities.

Integrated Education and Training is the core educational strategy for career pathways developed between WIOA partners. But IET alone won’t meet the requirement to promote “educational and career advancement”; the education component of IET must be aligned with a state’s content standards and the IET program must be part of a career pathway. This goes beyond classroom innovations; career pathways must provide robust participant support services, including career counseling, navigation, placement, and retention services.

CLASP’s Opportunities for Action is a series of short memos with recommendations for state and local areas to fully realize the options in the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) to help low-income and lower-skilled youth and adults achieve economic success.

<< Read the memo here >>

Aug 23, 2016  |  PERMALINK »

CLASP releases reference guide on WIOA Adult Priority of Service for High-Need Adults

By Anna Cielinski

CLASP has released a new memo in our WIOA Game Plan Opportunities for Action series. The memo serves as a reference guide on the WIOA adult program’s priority of service for “recipients of public assistance, other low- income individuals, and individuals who are basic skills deficient.”

Following recommendations for implementing and monitoring a strong priority of service, the guide includes text and citations from the statute, the final rules, guidance, planning requirements, and data collection in one place for easy reference. CLASP urges states and local areas to use these policies to implement a strong priority of service so that more high-need adults receive the employment and training services they need.

This Wednesday, August 24, 2016, at 3:00 pm ET, Workforce GPS—an interactive online communication and learning technical assistance (TA) platform sponsored by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration (ETA)—is hosting a webinar titled “WIOA Adult, DW, WP Provisions -- Including WBL, POS, Co-location, & More!” This session, part of ETA’s “WIOA Wednesday Regs Training” series, will cover WIOA’s priority of service requirements for priority populations. Designed  for front-line staff, managers, and other intermediary workforce staff and partnering agencies, the webinar will provide a broad overview of many of the changes in the WIOA provisions that impact:

  • Adult and Dislocated Worker (DW) Programs;
  • Wagner-Peyser (WP) Employment Service Program;
  • Changes in Service Delivery;
  • Priority of Service (POS) Requirements/Priority Populations; and
  • Work-Based Learning (WBL) Options.

To participate in the webinar, registration and reservation is required.

Read the Adult Priority of Service reference guide >>

Aug 22, 2016  |  PERMALINK »

20 Years After Welfare Reform: College Students and Benefits

By Amy Ellen Duke-Benfield

On TANF's 20th anniversary, I was interviewed by the Chronicle of Higher Education on how benefits can support students attending college as well as the policies that restrict their access.

The number of college students receiving TANF cash assistance dropped dramatically after welfare reform because of new time limits on education and training that sharply limited access, and because the total number of people receiving cash assistance dropped so much. However, students may receive other benefits, such as food assistance under SNAP or help paying for child care. A 2013 study found that 18.6 percent of students reported receiving a public benefit, including TANF, SNAP and free school meals, but not Medicaid. We know that benefit receipt is often underreported, so that may be a low estimate.

Today’s economy increasing requires post-secondary credentials for good jobs.  President Obama has said every American should have at least one year of postsecondary education and training, leading to a credential. Yet our anti-poverty programs have rules that directly contradict those goals by requiring too many work hours in combination with education, or time limiting education and training to such a degree that it hampers the ability of low-income students to attain credentials that allow them to get a family-supporting job.

Because of space limitations, the Chronicle didn’t run my answer to the question of what policy changes would make the most difference to students. Here’s the answer I gave:

First, it's important to recognize that this isn't simply about making the programs more user-friendly to low-income students, but also ensuring these program goals are aligned with our economic development and global competitiveness goals.  Even an  associate's degree or one-year certificate offers much better chances of placement in a job that offers family-supporting wages, instead of immediate placement in a minimum-wage job, or very short-term training programs with less economic payoff.  Society is far better off if people receive benefits for a little bit longer while they're in school, but are able to complete a degree or certificate that is valued in the labor market and gets them into a better job for the long run.

The answer to what could be done varies quite a bit by program.  For SNAP, the biggest change would be to remove the restrictions on student eligibility. That's the single biggest barrier to more low-income students receiving SNAP.  That would require federal legislation; however, even under the current rules, states could do much more to make sure that students who qualify for exemptions know about SNAP, and to make sure that students in employment-focused education and training qualify.

For TANF, even though the federal rules restrict how much education and training can count toward the work participation rate, states still have the flexibility to make different choices, such as not requiring 20 hours of work in conjunction with full-time college attendance.   Some states, such as Kentucky, Minnesota, and Pennsylvania have done so, recognizing that education and training supports the long-term goal of helping people get better jobs so that they don't need assistance in the future. 

The Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG), which was reauthorized in 2014, significantly improved the health and safety standards and provided for more stable care for families by requiring 12-month eligibility. However, the reauthorization came with very little additional money causing states to have to make difficult decisions about how to spend money and where to invest. The most important improvement that could be made for this program is a significant investment to ensure that more children can access high-quality care. Currently, about 1 in 7 eligible families receive child care subsidies, whether the parents are working or going to school or both.  As a result, even in a state where students are eligible to receive child care for their children, it’s certainly not a guarantee that they will.

The rules related to student eligibility for subsidized housing assistance for low-income individuals are complex. A student may receive Section 8 housing assistance while living separately from his or her parents only if both the student and the student’s parents are income eligible. The restriction does not apply to students who are veterans, married, have a dependent child, or are 24 years are older. Most independent students are eligible if they meet the income requirements, but definitions of eligible “families” sometimes exclude or deprioritize full-time students.  The Department of Housing and Urban Development should encourage local PHAs to treat full-time students similarly to working families, encouraging greater eligibility for public housing. In addition, financial aid for education-related expenses, such as fees, books, supplies, and transportation to school, should not be considered “income” for the purposes of determining Section 8 eligibility. 

And finally, for health insurance, the 19 states that haven't expanded Medicaid for all poor adults should do so. In these states, people with incomes under 100% of poverty who are not eligible for Medicaid under their state’s existing income eligibility limits and who don’t make enough to receive subsidies to purchase health insurance through the ACA marketplace fall into a coverage gap. In many states, adults without dependent children are not eligible at all for Medicaid, no matter how poor they are, and parents are only eligible at very low income levels.

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