Measure seeks to speed up welfare recipients return to workforce

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Jul. 22—WASHINGTON — A West Virginia lawmaker has reintroduced a federal measure that seeks to accelerate the pace of welfare recipients returning to the workforce.

U.S. Rep. Carol Miller, R-W.Va., joined U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski, R-Ind., U.S. Rep. Mike Kelly, R-Pa., and U.S. Rep. Ron Estes, R-Kan., in reintroducing the Accelerating Individuals into the Workforce Act. The proposed legislation encourages employer-led partnerships with state and local agencies to hire recipients from the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program to provide job skills training while strengthening America's workforce.

"By incentivizing employers to hire TANF recipients, this bill would provide those new workers with invaluable on-the-job training that prepares them for long-term careers and, as a result, helps lift them out of poverty," Miller, a member of the House Ways and Means Committee, said Wednesday. "I'm proud to work with my colleagues to create this direct pathway to employment opportunities and success for TANF recipients in West Virginia and across the country."

Miller is a member of the minority party, and the measure has little chance of passage in the Democratic-controlled U.S. House of Representatives.

Democrats currently control the U.S. House, the U.S. Senate and the White House.

According to Miller, the measure combines the goals of helping TANF recipients find employment, while providing employers with available workers. She says the TANF contingency fund would be used to subsidize wages for no more than 50 percent of the recipient's wages. The other 50 percent would be provided by the employer or state and local funds.

Miller said some employers are reluctant to hire welfare recipients who have limited work experience. The Accelerating Individuals into the Workforce Act seeks to mitigate that concern by decreasing the cost to employers of hiring TANF recipients.

Supporters of the measure, and other recent bills aims at getting healthy, able-bodied welfare recipients back to work, argue that having a job provides a sense of worth and responsibility.

— Contact Charles Owens at cowens@bdtonline.com

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