WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congresswoman Carol Miller (R-WV) joined with Reps. Jackie Walorski (R-IN), Mike Kelly (R-PA), and Ron Estes (R-KS) to reintroduce the Accelerating Individuals into the Workforce Act. This 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 to strengthen America’s workforce.
“As a member of the Ways and Means Committee, I’m focused on creating new jobs, alleviating poverty, and supporting local businesses,” said Congresswoman Miller. “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. 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.”
“Our safety net helps workers get back on their feet when they fall on hard times, but too often it can trap people in a cycle of poverty,” said Congresswoman Walorski, Ranking Member of the Ways and Means Subcommittee on Worker and Family Support. “One key to breaking that cycle is to treat TANF recipients like individuals – not like numbers on a spreadsheet. By creating an evidence-based program to help recipients gain experience and on-the-job training, this legislation will empower individuals to find and keep good jobs so their families can live the American Dream.”
“The primary purpose of federal assistance programs should be to help Americans escape poverty, not endure it. I am proud to join my colleagues on this legislation to help TANF recipients prepare to join the workforce, find jobs, and put themselves on a path to self-sufficiency,” said Congressman Kelly.
“The best way to assist Americans in need is through employment, which is why I’ve helped reintroduce the Accelerating Individuals into the Workforce Act,” said Congressman Estes. “This commonsense legislation encourages a return to work for those receiving TANF benefits, helping more Americans achieve the American dream.”
In recognition of the 25th anniversary of successful bipartisan welfare reform, Rep. Miller highlighted her legislation in a House Ways and Means Committee roundtable. You can watch her remarks here.
The Accelerating Individuals into the Workforce Act combines the goals of helping TANF recipients find employment, while providing employers with available workers. The TANF Contingency Fund would be used to subsidize wages for no more than 50% of the recipient’s wages. The other 50% would be provided by the employer or state and local funds. States will additionally be required to report on the outcomes of this program.
In 2020, an estimated 278,734 West Virginians lived in poverty. TANF is one of many programs that helps West Virginians out of poverty and into economic independence. However, at present, some recipients often have a difficult time transitioning from welfare into a job. In some cases, employers are reluctant to hire welfare recipients who have limited work experience or other barriers. These obstacles can be mitigated by decreasing the cost of hiring TANF recipients. By reducing the amount employers must put toward hiring TANF recipients, this legislation is an important way to tear down barriers in order to help people achieve employment.