The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Recovery Act) was signed into law by President Obama on February 17th, 2009. It is an effort to jumpstart our economy and create or save millions of jobs so our country can thrive in the 21st century. The Act includes measures to modernize our nation's infrastructure, enhance energy independence, expand educational opportunities, preserve and improve affordable health care, provide tax relief, and protect those in greatest need.
Total Funding Nationally: $400 million
Total Funding Wyoming: $2.14 million
Of the funds provided, approximately 62.5% is to be used to provide reemployment services to unemployment insurance claimants. Funds shall be made available through September 30, 2010.
Total Funding Nationally: $3.95 billion
Total Funding Wyoming: $4.74 million ($1.23 million Adult, $2.92 million Youth, $583 thousand Dislocated Worker)
The Wyoming Department of Workforce Services uses Workforce Investment Act funding to help adults, dislocated workers and youth find employment that leads to self-sufficiency through various services available at its local supportive centers.
The Workforce Investment Act Program offers the following training:
- Occupations skills training;
- On-the-job training;
- Programs that combine workplace training with related instruction;
- Training programs operated by the private sector;
- Skills upgrading and retraining;
- Entrepreneurial training;
- Job readiness training;
- ABE activities in conjunction with these activities; and
- Customized training with a commitment to employ trainees.
In 1998, Congress passed The Workforce Investment Act in an attempt to strengthen the nation's workforce development system by streamlining and coordinating the delivery of multiple employment, education and training programs. Wyoming implemented the act in July 2000. Funds come to the State of Wyoming for the various Title I-B programs, Title II Adult Basic Education programs, and Title IV, Vocational Rehabilitation programs. The Wyoming State Youth Council provides oversight on the use of the youth funds and the Wyoming Workforce Development Council overseeing the creation of a workforce development system.
Intensive and training-level services are provided to adults who are 18 years of age or older. Services can be provided directly through the Wyoming Department of Workforce Services'; supportive service centers or through contracts with various, qualified service providers. Service providers can be public, private for-profit, or private nonprofit entities, approved by the local workforce investment board.
Services are provided to individuals who are:
- Unemployed and are unable to obtain employment through core services and have been determined to be in need of more intensive services in order to obtain employment; or
- Employed and have been determined to be in need of services in order to obtain or retain employment that allows for self-sufficiency.
To receive services, an employed person must meet certain income guidelines. An unemployed person does not need to meet income criteria, but must be determined to be most in need by the Wyoming Department of Workforce Services' staff.
Services to dislocated workers are provided in the same manner as for adults above. A dislocated worker is a person who no longer has employment or has received notice of a permanent business closure, layoff, or a significant reduction-in-force. Displaced homemakers and self-employed individuals may also be considered a dislocated worker.
Youth are individuals aged 14 - 21 (age of eligibility has been extended through age 24 for American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funding). Services are provided to eligible youth seeking assistance in achieving academic and employment success. The following services can be provided to eligible youth:
- Tutoring, study skills training and instruction leading to completion of secondary school, including dropout prevention strategies;
- Alternative secondary school services;
- Summer employment opportunities that are directly linked to academic and occupational learning;
- Paid or unpaid work experiences, including internships and job shadowing;
- Occupational skill training;
- Leadership development opportunities, which may include community service and peer-centered activities encouraging responsibility and other positive social behaviors during non-school hours;
- Supportive services;
- Adult mentoring for the period of participation and a subsequent period, for a total of not less than 12 months;
- Follow-up services for not less than 12 months after the completion of participation; and
- Comprehensive guidance and counseling, which may include drug and alcohol abuse counseling and referral.
Total Funding Nationally: $120 million
Total Funding Wyoming: $126 thousand to Department of Workforce Services and approximately $447 thousand to Experience Works
Finding employees today with reliable work habits, loyalty to the job and the businesses, experience, and stability can be a lengthy process. The Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP) is able to connect businesses with older workers with these sought-after qualities.
The Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP) provides services to older adults who reside in Wyoming, age 55 years or older, and have an income level below 125 percent of the Federal Poverty Guideline; are unemployed; and have poor employment prospects. Services include comprehensive case management, employment training and up to 20 hours per week of part-time, subsidized community service assignments. The goal of these services is to transition the participant into unsubsidized employment earning a self-sufficient wage.
Total Funding Nationally: $680 million
Total Funding Wyoming: $2.05 million
The Wyoming Department of Workforce Services is committed to helping people with disabilities establish and reach vocational goals that help them become productive working citizens. During any given year, the Wyoming Department of Workforce Services' Vocational Rehabilitation Program actively works with more than 4,000 of Wyoming's citizens with disabilities, and, on average, approximately 700 of those citizens successfully complete a rehabilitation program and enter the workforce. For every dollar spent on Vocational Rehabilitation services, a consumer earns, on average, $11 in increased taxable income.
The Wyoming Department of Workforce Services' Vocational Rehabilitation Division can provide only those services which are necessary for eligible individuals to reach the employment goal agreed to in the Individualized Plan for Employment. These services may include, but are not limited to:
- Eligibility Assessment;
- Counseling and Guidance;
- Referral Services;
- Job Search and Placement Assistance;
- Job Retention and Career Follow-Up;
- Vocational and Other Training Services;
- Facilitation of diagnosis and treatment of physical and mental impairments;
- Transportation Services;
- Personal Assistance Services;
- Deaf and Blind Interpretive Services;
- Rehabilitation Teaching Services;
- Occupational Licenses, Tools and Equipment;
- Self-Employment Opportunities;
- Rehabilitation Technology Services;
- Transition Services (from school-to-work); and
- Supported Employment Services.
The criteria for determining eligibility for Vocational Rehabilitation Services are as follows:
- The individual has a physical or mental impairment;
- The impairment constitutes or results in a substantial impediment to employment;
- The individual shall be presumed to be able to benefit in terms of an employment outcome from the provision of VR services unless there is clear and convincing evidence that the applicant is incapable of benefiting in terms of an employment outcome from VR services;
- The applicant requires services to prepare for, enter into, engage in, regain, or retain gainful employment consistent with the applicant's strengths, concerns, abilities, capabilities and informed choice.
Total Funding Wyoming: Approximately $23.6 million
This act provides for the one-time payment of $250 to individuals who get Supplemental Security Information (SSI) or Social Security benefits It is expected that everyone who is entitled to a payment will receive that by late May 2009 No action is required on the part of eligible individuals For more information as it becomes available visit www.ssa.gov/payment/.
For more information on Wyoming's Recovery and Reinvestment Plan visit www.wyoming.gov.
For more information on the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act visit www.recovery.gov.