Vice President for Family Income Support Policy
Thirty-nine states and the District of Columbia used $1.3 billion from the TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families) Emergency Fund to place more than 260,000 low-income adults and youth in temporary jobs in the private and public sectors during the Great Recession. Now, from the Economic Mobility Corporation (EMC), there’s new evidence that these subsidized jobs programs did what they were supposed to do: help disadvantaged individuals during hard economic times to boost their incomes and improve their chances of finding unsubsidized jobs when the subsidized jobs ended. The EMC study shows that these programs helped businesses as well as job-seekers weather the worst of the recession. It found:
We’ve called the TANF Emergency Fund, which expired three years ago, a “win-win-win” because of its benefits for unemployed people, businesses, and communities. This new study provides hard evidence of the program’s accomplishments. It’s not too late to build on that success. This year, at least five states — Nebraska, Colorado, California, Minnesota, and Rhode Island —expanded state funding or provided new funding for subsidized employment for TANF recipients or other disadvantaged individuals. Congress should follow their lead. One place to start would be to redesign the TANF Contingency Fund as an employment fund that states could use to provide subsidized jobs or otherwise invest in evidence-based employment programs that significantly increase the job prospects of people receiving or eligible for TANF. That would help redirect scarce resources to states with the greatest need for jobs and help create jobs for those whom the tepid recovery has left behind.