|We've got NEWS|
|Tuesday, August 31, 1999 |
Tommy G. Thompson
News Media Contact
Contact: Darrin Schmitz (608) 266-9806
Heidi Kafura (608) 264-6811
MADISONGovernor Tommy G. Thompson today announced that the Wisconsin Works (W-2) program has earned national recognition as a finalist in the Ford Foundations Innovations in American Government Awards.
W-2, Wisconsins welfare-to-work program, is being honored as one of the top 25 government initiatives that is succeeding by using an innovative and creative approach to tackle a tough issue. Wisconsins welfare cash assistance caseload dropped to 7,924 families in June, a 77 percent reduction from the inception of W-2 in September 1997 and a 92 percent reduction from the January 1987 level of 98,295.
"Wisconsin Works is a great example of how government can work to improve people's lives through innovation, flexibility and by creating strong partnerships between the public and private sector," Gov. Thompson said. "W-2 is recognized across the country and around the world as America's model for moving people from welfare to work."
The Innovations in American Government Program promotes creative problem solving in the public sector. Finalists receive monetary grants to be used toward replicating its program in governments across the country.
The awards are funded by the Ford Foundation and administered by the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, in partnership with the Council for Excellence in Government.
Over 1,600 applications were submitted for the awards in 1999. Todays announcement narrowed the field of applicants to 25. As a finalist, the W-2 program received a $20,000 grant.
In October, 10 of the 25 finalists will be selected as winning programs after presentations are made to the Innovations National Selection Committee. The Committee is composed of former elected officials, private industry leaders and journalists, and is chaired by David Gergen, former advisor to four presidents and current editor-at-large at U.S. News and World Report.
"As one of the 25 finalists, W-2 has already distinguished itself as a leading example of how government can help people with challenges help themselves," said Linda Stewart, Secretary of the Department of Workforce Development, which runs the W-2 program. "This is very encouraging as we embark upon the two year anniversary of W-2, a first-of-its-kind, bold step in welfare reform."