Integrating The Delivery Of Workforce and Safety Net Programs Can Help People Flourish.

My boss Randy Hicks, appeared recently on the Daily Signal Podcast to talk about a solution to problems in the safety net and the delivery of workforce programs.

Fortunately, the solution Randy talks about is moving through Congress – with bipartisan support. Legislation re-authorizing the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) passed the House and sits in Senator Bernie Sanders committee. Included in H.R.6655 is a process that small states can use to integrate the delivery of workforce and safety net programs, as Utah does. Senator Mitt Romney has also introduced a standalone bill to accomplish the same thing – S.3825. We are hopeful one of these bills passes and is signed into law by President Biden.

This past session, Rep. Scott Hilton introduced HB 738 to create a task force that would develop a plan for Georgia to integrate the delivery of workforce and safety net programs.

From the Daily Signal:

Although the safety net may not intend to punish work or the family, Hicks says, it does that through policies that reward Americans with financial benefits for earning less or remaining single

Among all the states, Utah has created a model for a strong welfare system, he says. Utah integrated its workforce services with welfare services in the 1990s, so when an individual seeks government assistance, the first step is to help him re-enter the workforce, if he is able, before providing monetary benefits.

But around the year 2000, the federal government passed a law that made it almost impossible for states to integrate workforce and welfare services as Utah did. 

To change this situation, Hicks says, the Georgia Center for Opportunity and the Alliance for Opportunity advocate congressional legislation to “give states the flexibility to do what Utah did: integrate workforce and welfare so that we’re not compartmentalizing someone’s life but viewing it holistically and viewing it all as simply a means to a flourishing life that includes work.”

Listen to the podcast here.

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