Role of Intermediaries in Linking TANF Recipients with Jobs: Final Report. Nonprofit Organizations


In the study sites, a diverse group of nonprofit organizations acts as intermediaries. The majority of these organizations are of two types: (1) local entities or local affiliates of national organizations that have a long history of providing employment-related services to disadvantaged populations and (2) organizations with expertise in addressing the supportive service, and sometimes the employment, needs of special populations such as ex-offenders, persons with disabilities, or persons who speak limited English. Only a few nonprofit organizations are new to the communities in which they provide services or have no experience providing employment services to or working with welfare recipients.

Local experienced providers. Cleveland Works and Community Renewal Team (CRT) of Greater Hartford are two examples of local nonprofit organizations that began operating as intermediaries long before the implementation of TANF. Both expect to serve over 500 TANF recipients. Cleveland Works has been providing services to disadvantaged residents of Cleveland since 1986. In addition to job search and placement assistance, Cleveland Works also provides specialized services to help ex-offenders find employment and to help low-income adults address legal issues (such as poor credit) that affect their ability to find or sustain employment. CRT is one of the oldest community action agencies in the nation, providing job development and social service programs to low-income families in the Hartford area since 1963.

Organizations with expertise in serving hard-to-employ populations. Three organizations  Marc, Inc. (Greater Hartford), St. Paul Rehabilitation Center (SPRC), and the Intercultural Mutual Assistance Association (IMAA  Olmsted County MN) are examples of TANF and WtW intermediaries that were founded to provide employment assistance to populations with special needs. SPRC was founded in the 1940s to provide  and has historically provided  physical, occupational, and speech therapy services in the community. It currently provides intensive rehabilitation and employment services to TANF recipients, refugees, the homeless, and persons with developmental disabilities or mental illness. Similarly, Marc, Inc. started providing employment services 50 years ago when it began operating a sheltered workshop for developmentally disabled adults. It now focuses on placing persons with developmental disabilities, and recipients of General Assistance and TANF in unsubsidized employment in the community. IMMA was founded to respond to the needs of refugees; prior to the implementation of TANF, it was funded primarily through grants from the Office of Refugee Resettlement. IMAA's staff of 16 offers services in 12 different languages. In addition to employment services, IMAA provides crime-prevention and youth/family services.

Local affiliates of national organizations. Local affiliates of national nonprofit organizations act as intermediaries for TANF recipients in 8 of the 10 urban areas. However, they do not operate in any of the rural areas. The organizations represented as intermediaries in the study sites include the Salvation Army, Lutheran Social Services, SER/Jobs for Progress, Catholic Charities, Urban League, Goodwill Industries, and Jewish Social Services. The services these organizations provide depend on the community in which they are located, rather than on their national affiliation. For example, Goodwill Industries provides mentoring and job retention services in Jacksonville and San Antonio, job search and placement assistance in Cleveland, and comprehensive services including case management in Omaha. Most of these organizations expect to serve between 100 and 300 TANF recipients. The exception is Catholic Charities of San Diego, which expects to serve 2,000 recipients.

New organizations. A few of the nonprofit organizations were started specifically to help TANF recipients make the transition to employment. Trust House (Hartford) and Consensus Organizing Institute (San Diego) illustrate the diverse roots and goals of these new organizations. Trust House is a small organization started by a group of Catholic nuns who wanted to help TANF recipients and other low-income residents in East Hartford, an area with a high concentration of poverty and public housing developments, find employment. Trust House expects to provide tutoring, and job search and placement assistance to 40 TANF recipients; it also provides enrichment programs for the children of the TANF recipients who participate in their program. Consensus Organizing Institute (San Diego) began operating in 1997 to provide employment opportunities to residents in low-income communities in San Diego. Currently, the institute is working with Pacific Bell to train TANF recipients to become customer service representatives. Pacific Bell has agreed to hire those who complete the training as full-time employees.

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