Ticket-to-work law designed to help welfare recipients get long-term employment

AUGUSTA — A bill meant to more quickly move families from welfare to sustainable long-term employment has become law, the Democratic Speaker of the House Mark Eves said Tuesday.

File photo

Maine Speaker of the House Mark Eves, D-North Berwick.

The so-called, "Ticket-to-Work" law provides resources and assessment for those receiving state and federal financial aid and looks to determine what specific training or educational programs would help individuals gain sustainable employment.

Eves, of North Berwick, authored the bill, but the measure will go into effect without Republican Gov. Paul LePage's signature.

“This measure will help struggling Mainers get the skills they need to get a good job and permanently climb out of poverty,” Eves said in a prepared statement. “The security of a good job will mean more families can keep their house warm, put food on the table and put gas in the car.”

Tina Hutchinson, of Lewiston, told lawmakers during public hearing on the bill getting the connected to the training she needed allowed her family to overcome the obstacles of finding and maintaining employment.

Hutchinson, the mother of a special needs child, also has personal medical issues.

But after receiving training to become a medical transcriptionist Hutchinson was able to work from home and tend to her child's needs, according to a release issued by House Democrats Tuesday.

The bill directs the state's Department of Health and Human Services to provide a comprehensive assessment to identify and coordinate the training and tools recipients need to find long-term employment.

Eves said this type of assessment had proven pivotal in other states, such as Minnesota, for “moving families off programs, into secure employment and out of poverty. This is the right approach to reforming our anti-poverty programs.”

During the public hearing on the bill, Hutchinson told lawmakers that connecting with the right training and tools allowed her family to overcome obstacles to finding and maintaining employment.

Hutchinson is a mother of a child with special needs and also has personal medical issues, making it hard for her to secure long-term employment. She went through a vocational training program to help her obtain a Medical Transcription Certification — a job she could do from home and still meet her child’s needs.

The law also directs DHHS to transition Temporary Assistance to Needy Families fund recipients with severe disabilities and barriers to work from the state program the federal Social Security Insurance or Social Security Insurance for the Disabled programs, thus reducing costs to the state.

A 2010 survey of TANF recipients conducted by the University of Maine found that 90 percent of recipients who were on the program for longer than five years faced a physical and mental health disability.

Despite signing the governor signing the bill, LePage's administration did testify in favor of it and it passed the House and Senate on unanimous votes.

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Comments

Robert McQueeney's picture

The best form of welfare is a job

This slogan has prevented more than one candidate from getting elected. Who would vote for a candidate with such a plan today?

Bob Stone's picture

My High School English Teachers are

...rolling over in their respective graves.

KELLY SCOTTI's picture

ASPIRE/TANF ASPIRE/TANF is a

ASPIRE/TANF
ASPIRE/TANF is a program that helps TANF recipients find employment that will pay enough to make it possible for them to get off welfare.

ASPIRE/JET
ASPIRE/JET is a program that helps Food Supplement recipients find employment.

Right off Maine.gov, wonder what makes the new program different. Poor reporting.

The writing is terrible

(I think SJ fired their copy editors years ago because there are so many poorly written and uncorrected articles). However, my understanding is that this program is for assessing the training programs that will help them gain employment, rather than just helping them find the jobs. And it assesses the effectiveness of those training programs.

David  Cote's picture

Not just poor reporting...

I had a hard time making sense of some of the sentences. Grammatically speaking, this article needs a rework.

SCOTT GRAY's picture

Only one problem

These jobs have already been taken. Don't worry about educating people for good jobs. Instead, worry about helping business's to create these good jobs. In turn, the business's will educate / train employees to perform these jobs.

Shannon White's picture

Ticket to work

Isn't that what the ASPIRE program has been for???

Roger Gagne's picture

Ticket to work

Thats what I thought ASPIRE was for also.

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