Today, we continue our countdown to the end of the TANF Emergency Fund, which has provided 250,000 Americans with subsidized jobs in the private and public sectors but will expire September 30 — despite continuing high unemployment — unless Congress acts. The fund has enabled formerly unemployed workers to earn a weekly paycheck so they can pay their bills and care for their families. It also has given them an opportunity to gain more work experience and build new skills that will help them find permanent employment as the economy recovers. Here are two examples:
Bryan P., who has a high school degree, a technical certificate, and ten years of work experience, lost his job last year due to the recession and could not find steady work to support his two children. Illinois’ subsidized jobs program helped him find a job at a Chicago hotel, where his supervisor has praised his strong work ethic and is considering him for a permanent job. “I love this job. I love the program. It’s awesome,” Bryan said.
Teresa L. lost her job when her employer was forced to make cuts due to the recession, leaving her and her husband struggling to provide for their five children. Through South Carolina’s subsidized jobs program, she found an administrative position at an insurance agency. Her new job also allowed the family to move to a neighborhood with better schools. Teresa plans to build on her experience and become a licensed insurance agent.
On Monday, I’ll discuss what will happen to states’ jobs programs when the Emergency Fund expires.