June 22-26, 2001

 
 
ADOPTED RESOLUTIONS: JOBS, EDUCATION AND THE WORKFORCE

TANF REAUTHORIZATION: MAINTAINING FUNDING AND KEY ROLE FOR MAYORS AND THE WORKFORCE SYSTEM

WHEREAS, the Congress passed and the President signed the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 (PRWORA) which dramatically altered the welfare system of this country and created Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF); and

WHEREAS, welfare caseloads have declined by almost half since TANF was passed but many families leaving the rolls either remain unemployed or work only sporadically, most who have jobs are still poor, and many families are going without the services and resources needed to meaningfully transition from welfare to work; and

WHEREAS, as caseloads drop statewide, cities register much slower rates of decline, leaving many cities with a disproportionate share of hard-to-place recipients; and

WHEREAS, in most states studied, parents who find work after leaving welfare are earning below the poverty line with wage rates generally in the $6 to $7 an hour range, and are more likely to have periods of unemployment because of no child care or unreliable transportation; and

WHEREAS, most families need ongoing support and non-financial assistance to make their entry into the workforce more stable and secure; and

WHEREAS, the transition to self-sufficiency relies on the critical relationship between welfare reform, the development of workforce skills and the creation of jobs that provide a "livable" income; and

WHEREAS, the workforce investment system and the utilization of One-Stops under the Workforce Investment Act (WIA), ensure universal access to quality, coordinated education and training, information and services, facilitate entry into the labor market, assist in the development of career paths, and provide incumbent worker training of welfare recipients who are working and leaving welfare; and

WHEREAS, Congress is holding hearings and must reauthorize PRWORA by 2002,

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that The U.S. Conference of Mayors calls upon Congress to provide adequate funding and, at a minimum, maintain the current funding available under the TANF block grant; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that The U.S. Conference of Mayors calls upon Congress and the Administration to provide appropriate resources and an effective funding structure in the new legislation to respond to the excessively high concentration of welfare recipients in the nation's cities; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that Congress and the Administration as part of TANF reauthorization, invest in addressing the skills gap by providing direct funding to cities and full coordination with the workforce investment system; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the new legislation recognize mayors and local Workforce Investment Boards (WIBs) as full partners and ensure that they have active roles in the planning, design, and implementation of workforce development services to meet the needs of local welfare recipients; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that The U.S. Conference of Mayors calls upon Congress and the Administration to ensure that the new legislation provides for a significant connection between the TANF system and the workforce investment system through the mayor and the local WIB; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that The U.S. Conference of Mayors calls for the new legislation to incorporate greater collaboration and system building so that the services and systems designed to serve welfare recipients and create self-sufficiency do not present barriers to the success of welfare reform.