Fox 29 News, "Way to Work Program Ending in Philly"
As many as 250,000 workers nationwide – up to 12,000 of them in Pennsylvania – are at risk of losing their jobs on September 30th if Congress fails to extend the TANF Emergency Fund.
The TANF Emergency Fund has created an estimated 250,000 jobs for low-income parents and youth nationwide. However, it is set to expire on September 30, 2010. Thirty-seven states including Illinois, California, Tennessee, Georgia, Texas, Florida, Mississippi, Ohio, and Pennsylvania, operate subsidized employment programs using these funds. Yet many of the programs — including most of the largest ones — are slated to end on September 30 if Congress doesn’t extend the fund; the others plan to greatly scale back operations.
Way to Work Pennsylvania, a highly successful program that subsidizes private- and public-sector jobs for unemployed parents and youth, only began in May 2010, and continues to add employees and employers every day. Without an extension, it will never have the opportunity to reach its full potential.
More than 4,200 employers around the state have benefited from Way to Work Pennsylvania, more than one-third of which are in the private sector. Nearly 3,000 workers in Philadelphia alone are at risk of losing their jobs if the program is not extended.
The TANF Emergency Fund will expire on September 30 unless Congress extends it. The House has twice voted to extend the Fund, but the Senate has yet to act. If legislation is not approved to extend the Fund, it will expire September 30, putting 37 states’ much-needed subsidized jobs programs around the country at risk of coming to a halt. With no assurance that Congress will act, programs across the country will have no choice but to start notifying participating employers that the program will no longer be able to subsidize wages after September 30 unless the program is extended.
At a time of 9.6% unemployment, and with businesses around the country struggling to stay afloat, subsidized jobs programs like Way to Work have been a win-win for businesses and unemployed workers, providing critical support to weather the economic recession. These programs are also the primary hope for many of the persons exhausting their unemployment benefits, who face the daunting prospect of replacing their income in this sluggish economy. In Pennsylvania alone, these “99ers” who have exhausted their unemployment benefits are expected to number at least 138,500 by year’s end, even if Congress again extends unemployment insurance benefit programs which otherwise would end in November.
Community Legal Services and the Philadelphia Unemployment Project have been strong advocates of Way to Work Pennsylvania and the TANF Emergency Fund since the beginning of the program. Help us work to get the TANF Emergency Fund extended past Sept. 30, 2010, so that successful job-creating programs like Way to Work can continue helping businesses and unemployed workers in Pennsylvania and around the country.
Contact CLS' Rebecca Vallas at 215-227-2417, or CLS' Sharon Dietrich at 215-981-3719, for more information or to find out how you can help.