September 4, 2002
News Media Contact
DEPARTMENT RECOGNIZES FAMILIES WHO HAVE SUCCEEDED
To commemorate the
five-year anniversary of the W-2 program
MADISON – Governor Scott
McCallum and Department of Workforce Development Secretary Jennifer
Alexander will recognize several individuals who have succeeded with the
assistance of the W-2 program, to commemorate the program’s five-year
anniversary. Secretary Alexander also recognized an outstanding achievers
from across the state who have worked hard to move toward self-sufficiency.
"Too often this program
becomes one that people analyze based on numbers. What many people forget is
that there are faces behind this program and they have worked very hard to
make a difference in their lives and the lives of their children. That is
what this recognition ceremony is all about, commending those who have taken
on the challenge of going to work, and in many cases, have begun to move up
the career ladder in just five short years. And they have done so, with the
assistance of W-2 agencies in every corner of the state," said Gov.
Secretary Alexander presented
plaques to several individuals who have achieved success, and presented one
award for outstanding achievement to Therese Her. Therese received W-2 cash
benefits through the Eau Claire County Human Services department when she
was on bed rest, pregnant with twins, and had two toddlers at home. After
the birth of her twins, she was placed in a community service job with Dove
Health Care to update her CNA Certification. Upon completion of her
certification, childcare and transportation were both issues, so she was
referred to the Wheels-to-work program and given assistance in getting a
car. Therese was also assisted with childcare and job search. She is now
working full-time as a home care provider while her kids are being cared for
in her home with a certified provider.
"The W-2 program has
given hope to people like Therese, who weren’t sure how to cope with the
cards life had dealt them. It is a program that requires individual
participation and personal responsibility. With those two components, it can
help anyone succeed," added Secretary Alexander.
The W-2 program was
implemented statewide on September 1, 1997. The W-2 program has drawn the
attention of not only other states, but other countries. Some of those other
countries include Germany, Australia, New Zealand, Israel, China, Sweden,
Funding for the W-2
Anniversary Recognition Ceremonies being held across the state, was provided
by the Ford Foundation as W-2 was an "Innovations in American
Government" award winner in 1999.
Facts about the W-2 program:
Statewide, since the beginning
of the W-2 program more than 31,000 (31,239) people have been involved in
GED and/or job training activities. (11,828 in GED and 28,608 in job
training). Just under 23,000 (22,951) of those individuals were in Milwaukee
county (9,265 in GED and 21,445 in job training)
Statewide, the cash caseload
has decreased by nearly 62%, from 25,823 people in August of 1997 to 9,701
in July 2002. Note: Child only cases are not included in these numbers.
Statewide, since January of
1998 more than 43,000 (43,358) people have moved off of welfare and into
jobs and more than 33,000 were in Milwaukee County (33,155).
In the most recent W-2
contract (January 2000 - December 2001) 87% of former W2 participants
statewide were still working after 30 days of employment and 64% were still
working after 180 days. In Milwaukee County, more than 88% of participants
were still working after 30 days and 64% were still working after 180 days.
53% of W-2 participants who
got a job (between October 1999 and September 2000) reported an increase in
their earnings making Wisconsin fourth best in the nation for the increase
in earnings for it’s participants.
The average length of stay for
W-2 participants statewide receiving cash payments is 16 months, in
Milwaukee county it is 18 months. (The federal lifetime limit for benefits
is 60 months, and the state limit for benefits is 24 months per tier in the
Furthermore, if you look at
the most recent data (July 2002) only 1% of cash participants have reached
the 60-month limit. 76% have used fewer than 25 months, 51% have used fewer
than 13 months, and only 4% have used more than 48 months.
The number of families
receiving childcare subsidies has doubled since April 1998 from more than
13,000 (13,142) families in April 1998 to more than 26,000 (26,330) families
in July 2002. Expenditures in April 1998 totaled just over 6 million that
month, compared to nearly 23 million for the month of July in 2002.
Wisconsin has the second
highest percentage of adults involved in work in its welfare reform program
at 91 percent, following only the State of Washington at 93 percent.
Under the AFDC program, 100%
of participants were living at or below the poverty level. A recent
Legislative Audit Bureau report indicated of those who had gone from welfare
to work, 50% were earning above the federal poverty level.
Other statistics, which
indicate Wisconsin’s social health actually improved under W-2:
Wisconsin’s poverty rate
actually dropped during the years of 1997-1999, when W-2 was implemented.
(Census Bureau Data)
Wisconsin ranks 9th
lowest in the nation for the number of children living in poverty. (Census
Wisconsin residents have the
fifth best social health in the nation according to a study released by the
Institute for Innovation in Social Policy, at the Fordham Graduate Center in
Tarrytown, New York. (based on Census Data in 1998-1999)
of statewide event locations and times
from Award Ceremony
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