From Wicked Local Newton
By Michael P. Norton
State House News Service
January 10, 2013
Boston — Supporters of legislation aimed at enabling more Massachusetts families to achieve economic self-sufficiency say only six states have fewer public assistance participants enrolled in education and training programs.
Rep. Kay Khan (D-Newton) on Thursday indicated a coalition, including organizations falling under the umbrella Workforce Solutions Group, will push for passage this session of the “career pathways” bill.
Bill supporters say pilot efforts linked to the state’s network of education and vocational programs will help more low-income and teen parents to gain skills they need to obtain higher paying jobs.
Under the bill, pilot programs would be administered by the Commonwealth Corporation under an agreement with the Department of Transitional Assistance, and at least 40 percent of participants would be recipients of benefits under the state’s Transitional Aid to Families with Dependent Children (TAFDC) program.
The Workforce Solutions Group, which includes the Crittenton Women’s Union, the Mass. AFL-CIO and the Mass. Business Roundtable, says Massachusetts workers with only a high school diploma earn about half as much as individuals with a college degree, or $42,863 per year versus $80,611 per year.
The group estimates that 85 percent of TAFDC participants have a high school diploma or less, and says state investments in education and training for TAFDC participants have declined from $36.2 million in fiscal 2002 to $7.9 million currently. According to Workforce Solutions Group, Massachusetts directs only 1 percent of its state and federal welfare funding to “work-related activities” to TAFDC recipients, ranking it in the bottom quarter of states.