For this column I would like to talk about one of the Township programs I am most proud of as it allows clients we have helped to give back to the Wayne Township community. Those of you who have not been involved with Township Assistance may think we simply hand out money to those in need and that’s the end of it, but in fact nothing could be further from the truth. To receive Township Assistance, clients who are able to work must give back by working at non-profit or government agencies. The program in which clients work for these agencies is called Workfare.
Our Workfare Director at the Wayne Township Trustee’s Office is Michael DePew. Michael has worked hard and continues to work hard to increase the number of agencies to which we send clients. He strives to have agencies in different geographic areas in Wayne Township and agencies that can offer clients a variety of work duties. Right now, Wayne Township has about twenty agencies we regularly use in our Workfare program.
The way our Workfare Program operates is when a person receives Township Assistance, he or she is assigned a certain number of Workfare hours to complete. The hours a client must complete are based on the amount of assistance received calculated at the rate of the minimum wage. The client also is assigned a non-profit or government agency where the client will perform his or her “workdays.”
The Workfare Department tries to assign clients to agencies near their homes so the clients don’t encounter transportation problems. That is why it is important for the Workfare Program to include agencies in different areas of our Township. Our Workfare staff also tries to assign clients to agencies that have jobs suited to the client’s skills and abilities. Duties performed by Workfare clients include everything from computer work to maintenance jobs. In the Waynedale area we have sent Workfare help to the Waynedale Picnic in August and to the Great American Cleanup effort in May.
If the client does not complete the number of Workfare hours assigned, he or she is not eligible to receive further Township Assistance for 180 days. A client’s Workfare requirement may be waived only under certain limited circumstances. Those include a client who is a disabled, elderly or has a doctor’s slip stating he or she is not physically able to work. A client who has obtained employment or is in school and cannot perform the workdays is also excused as is any client who is full-time caring for a needy family member at home.
One of the goals of the Workfare Program is to place clients in a work environment to help them develop or maintain their employment skills. Clients are required to be at their Workfare jobs every day, to be on time and to complete their daily shift. They cannot be absent from their Workfare jobs without an excuse, such a doctor’s slip showing they were ill. They must appropriately interact with their co-workers, and they must do the work assigned to them. In other words, they are experiencing what most of us experience on a daily basis in our jobs.
We often hear back from non-profit agencies about how much they appreciate the help they receive through our Workfare Program. We even have had instances when an agency was so pleased by the work done by one of our clients that they decided to give the client a permanent job.
Another requirement for our Workfare clients is to attend our weekly employment training classes. Our office brings in speakers who address many and various topics to help clients obtain jobs. I am thankful that we at the Wayne Township Trustee’s Office have a program that not only benefits our clients by helping them learn employment skills, but also is a great benefit to our community.
Our office will observe Veteran’s Day on Friday, November 10, this year. Join me and my staff by thanking a Vet on that day and every chance you get.
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