Impact Bulletin: Summer Edition
LETTER FROM LAURIE
Twenty Years after Welfare Reform CWEE is a Beacon of Hope
 
It is hard to believe that this month marks the 20th anniversary since Congress passed the "welfare reform" act creating Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF).  President Clinton signed the controversial legislation on August 22, 1996 to "end welfare as we know it", replacing the long standing entitlement program Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC).   It was an unprecedented change in federal policy creating a massive new block grant that went directly to the states to create and administer a unique state plan with very little oversight from the federal government.
 
I was the Director of CWEE during this time and there were so many unknowns about this dramatic and confusing new environment that would become the reality for the single parents we served.  And there were no immediate answers about how we as a provider of essential education and training, confidence building and employment services could operate within the provisions of the law.   I joined a broad coalition of advocates, child care providers, faith groups and the governor's staff to form a working group led by then State Senator Mike Coffman to draw up Colorado's plan over the next 6 months.  We met regularly to design what became Colorado Works, our state TANF plan, that eventually was passed by our legislature in 1997.
 
There were some positive aspects with the new law including the opportunity for single parents to seek out job readiness, education and employment programs to assist them in becoming the provider for their families and child care assistance was provided along with other essential support services.  CWEE was able to position our years of experience and expertise in serving this population with several metro counties and continues to provide services to the TANF population through fee for service contracts.  CWEE saw gains initially with positive placements as the economy remained strong but the ups and downs of employment trends made it difficult to sustain success for all of our students, especially those with hardship needs such as mental health, domestic violence, criminal backgrounds, etc.  
 
There were gaps with the initial law and damaging regulations that have worsened the effectiveness of TANF over the years.  Some states have imposed harsh time limits for receipt of support and the state's block grant budget has never been increased over the 20 years with a decline in resources by 33 percent due to inflation.  Total caseloads have declined dramatically but there has not been a decrease in poverty.
 
CWEE's unique model providing comprehensive services to change the lives of single parents with children continues to shine as an example of an exemplary program working with TANF.   Through our collaborative partnerships with employers, community organizations, the county departments of human services, foundations and private philanthropy we have succeeded in launching the transformation of several hundreds of low income families each year.  Please see the extraordinary outcomes with our participants over the past 12 months in this newsletter to understand the outstanding impact that CWEE is making after 20 years of welfare reform.  CWEE is a beacon of hope for the TANF participants we serve. 

Laurie Harvey
CEO/President

UPCOMING EVENTS

Join us at CWEE's  Aspire, Act, Achieve 
Awards Luncheon & Fundraiser!

The Annual Luncheon is CWEE's largest fundraising event where we honor outstanding alumni and community partners. 

September 22, 2016 
11AM to 1PM
Mile High Station

Click here for more information and to purchase your tickets today!

Contact Caitie Neice, Development Manager at 
303-892-8444 ext. 344 or  cneice@cwee.org for questions

PARTICIPANT SUCCESS

Participants at CWEE combine their skills, experience and interests with our resources to create their pathway to becoming self-supporting through meaningful employment. 

Bruce is a husband and father of two who disclosed his passion for the food service industry when he enrolled in CWEE. Bruce had left the food service industry quite some time ago to pursue a higher paying JOB with more consistent hours, but this JOB was not in an industry he was passionate about. He recognized that he could easily gain a well-paying supervisor position  in a warehouse, but this didn't motivate him. It wasn't his passion, a position in a warehouse would have just been another JOB.
 
Instead, Bruce utilized the career exploration opportunities at CWEE, his personal network, related job training workshops and mock interviews with hospitality recruiters to pursue his CAREER in the food service industry.
 
Bruce had this to say about his overall experience at CWEE, "CWEE has helped me learn and understand the hiring process better. The staff is very knowledgeable and supportive.  I feel empowered to make my career path both professionally and personally. I feel strongly that the path I am heading on now is better suited to who I am and not just what I think I need to do or am expected to do."
 
In less than two months from enrolling at CWEE, Bruce started his CAREER in food service. Bruce gained employment as a restaurant supervisor with one of CWEE's employer partners, Sage Hospitality, one of the U.S's top hospitality management, investment and development companies, who also happens to have its headquarters in Denver. Bruce now has a CAREER and not just a JOB - congrats Bruce and best wishes for continued success!

ANNOUNCEMENTS

CWEE has partnered with the Denver Rescue Mission to assist placing individuals in need of transportation in a reliable vehicle through CWEE's newest program, Wheels to Work.  CWEE participants who have worked with CWEE for a minimum of three months and have a demonstrated need for a vehicle were able to submit applications and essays for consideration in the program.  CWEE selected the first three families to be recipients of vehicles which will be distributed mid-September.



FY16 DATA

CWEE served 661 participants from 
July 1, 2015 to June 30, 2016

Demographics
The largest percentage of our participants (36%) had only 1 child in the home, and 21% of our participants were pregnant at the time of enrollment

We served 85% women and 15% men, with 74% of all participants being single parents

Additional barriers for our participants included:

24% with a criminal background
20% with lack of transportation
AND
11% were homeless, while 43% lived with a friend or family member

Education
37% of participants started our program with a High School Diploma or Equivalent

27% had only 9th to 11th grade education upon enrollment

Of the 32 participants who began High School Equivalency training, 8 completed their HSE, while 16 passed at least one of the four GED tests

Employment
We had 492 total employment placements, 
315 of which were full-time

The average wage was $10.70, which is $2.39 above Colorado's minimum wage

At the 3 month mark, 52% of participants had retained employment

Empowerment
87% of participants felt more empowered, confident and knowledgeable about themselves
AND
97% of participants felt prepared to take the next steps in their career path



HIGH NEED ITEMS
Gift Cards
$25 Walmart
$25 Ross

Contact 
to schedule drop-off

Visit our website for more participant stories, volunteer opportunities and upcoming events. 


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