Tuesday, February 25, 1998
Welfare dependence down 23% in January
W-2 conversion almost complete
For the first month ever, the number of W-2 cases exceeded the number of AFDC. By the end of January, 12,127 families had been enrolled in W-2, up 20 percent.
In January, AFDC checks were issued to 7,797 families, down 39 percent from December. However, only 1,778 AFDC cases were open statewide (1,734 in Milwaukee County) in the most recent computer run, conducted on February 22.
Families in the first two, job-readiness training levels of W-2 receive a state subsidy check. Adding those to Januarys remaining AFDC recipients totals 14,391 families dependent on cash assistance (Column #1 on Page 3). Thats a 23 percent improvement from December and is down 54 percent since W-2 went statewide five months ago. Taking the longer view, dependency has been reduced 85 percent since welfare reform began in Wisconsin in January 1987.
"Throughout Wisconsin, families whom the old system had given up on are making better lives for themselves with the help of the W-2 program and people who care," said Linda Stewart, Secretary of the Department of Workforce Development.
The Secretary again reminded parents that there will be no more AFDC after the March checks. As a practical matter, parents should enroll with their local W-2 agency by March 18 in order to get a W-2 check or, better yet, a job payroll check in April.
Milwaukees share of all W-2 cases rose to 70 percent from 66 percent in December and 64 percent in November.
Issuance of Food Stamps remained steady 78,844 cases, up just one case from December (and down 170 from September). Food Stamps are considered a reliable indicator of economic viability. Food Stamps remain an entitlement; recipients need not participate in W-2 to receive them.
|AFDC & paid W-2|| |
|AFDC only|| |
Medical Assistance showed a small increase of 167 cases to a total of 145,195 in January.
Best Practices Tecumseh Products Inc. hired eight people off welfare who completed a training program right at the small-engine factory. "I was one of those reluctant people, a critic, of hiring people off welfare. I thought theyd work a day or two and then leave. Now, I am convinced it works because of the success of some of the folks weve had working with us," says Dave Eberhardt, plant operations manager.
"Im really impressed by their work ethic. "They show up on time, ready to work!" adds Don Denis, human resources manager. Ozaukee Express transports workers between Milwaukee and Ozaukee County.
A second 6½-week training session for 18 potential new employees will begin in early March.