One of the core programs here at Wayne Township is found in our Workfare and Employment Department. When an eligible client receives financial assistance from the township, they are entered into the workfare program which helps them develop working relationships with other agencies giving them a foot in the door into full-time employment and financial independence. The Workfare and Employment program is important because township assistance is not simply a gift of financial aid to citizens in need. These are programs defined by Indiana law that allow clients to work off assistance they have received and at the same time develop relationships with potential employers.
The Workfare Program begins when a person receives township assistance. He or she is then 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 is assigned to a non-profit or government agency where he or she performs their “workdays.”
The Workfare Department tries to assign clients to agencies near their homes to avoid 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. Workfare duties include everything from computer work to maintenance jobs. In the Waynedale area we have sent workfare help to work at, among other places, the Great American Cleanup effort in the spring.
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, including being disabled, elderly or having 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 caring full-time 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 as a doctor’s slip showing they were ill. They must appropriately interact with their co-workers and do the work assigned to them. In other words, workfare clients are experiencing what any person experiences on a regular job.
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 with a workfare clients that they offer them a permanent job.
Workfare clients also attend weekly employment training classes. Our office brings in speakers who address many and various topics to help clients obtain and maintain full-time jobs. This program not only benefits our clients by helping them learn employment skills, but also is a great benefit to our community.
Our Workfare Director at the Wayne Township Trustee’s Office is Shatayah Little. Shatayah works hard to connect clients with workfare roles and employment opportunities that match their skills and provide them with fulfilling work. She stays in contact with clients and potential employers and organizes job fairs and other tools to help people find and maintain good jobs. Shatayah is this month’s Employee Spotlight staff member. We thank her for doing such important work for the citizens of Wayne Township.
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