Providing Paid Employment Opportunities to TANF Participants Engaged in Vocational Education Programs: Examples from Denver, Colorado; Kentucky; and California

12/20/2008

This practice brief profiles three programs, two statewide and one local, that provide work opportunities to Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) recipients who are participating in vocational education programs. Selected programs in Denver, Colorado, Kentucky, and California combine vocational education and paid work because this strategy reinforces the emphasis of the TANF program on encouraging recipients to engage in work as quickly as possible. This approach also allows recipients to meet their core 20-hour federal work requirement through paid, subsidized employment and to use their hours spent in school to meet any required hours over 20 (i.e., non-core hours), as long as they are directly related to a specific job or occupation. This practice brief is one of a series designed to assist state and local officials in thinking about strategies that might aid them in meeting work participation requirements in their TANF programs following enactment of the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005 (DRA). In reauthorizing the TANF program, the DRA resulted in significant increases in the effective work participation rates that states must achieve.

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