TOMMY G. THOMPSON
State of Wisconsin
For Immediate Release - October 6, 1998
Contact: David Blaska (608) 266-6925
GOVERNOR ENCOURAGES MORE W-2 FAITH-BASED INVOLVEMENT
Milwaukee - Gov. Tommy G. Thompson today announced measures to encourage greater use of faith-based organizations to serve W-2 participants.
The new W-2 contracts, which will begin in the year 2000, will offer a financial incentive to W-2 agencies that establish and maintain partnerships with local faith-based organizations. And one of the ways W-2 agencies can work toward winning new contracts is by subcontracting with a faith-based provider under their current contract, the governor announced.
"In Wisconsin, we believe that every person should reach their full potential. Thats why we started welfare reform," Gov. Thompson said. "One of the strengths of Wisconsin Works is its ability to involve the entire community - and that includes religious organizations."
The Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development will provide technical assistance to W-2 agencies and faith-based organizations to help them fully understand Charitable Choice. The state will inventory the faith-based organizations already serving W-2 participants as a resource base.
The federal welfare legislation that enabled W-2 includes a provision called "Charitable Choice," which removes the barriers that had prohibited states from entering into partnerships with religious organizations.
Charitable Choice prohibits the state from infringing on the religious nature of the organization. Likewise, W-2 participants who do not want to be served by a faith-based organization, must be provided alternatives.
The governor said he was encouraged by what has already been accomplished by our partnerships with the faith community. He said faith-based organizations:
"We have succeeded because we have tapped into the deepest wellsprings of the whole community. We are involving all people of good will in this mission of true compassion," Gov. Thompson said.
In its first 12 months, W-2 has helped 23,911 families become self-sufficient, contributing members of their communities. The number of families dependent on cash assistance declined by 69 percent in 12 months to 10,580 in a state with three million workers.
Todays announcement was made at Milwaukee Job Center North with representatives of all five Milwaukee W-2 providers and several faith-based organizations present.