- Report Published -
|Economic and Employment Improvement Program for Disadvantaged Persons|
|Department of Social Services|
|§ 63.1-133.58 (B.)|
|Senate Bill 628 passed by the 2000 Virginia General Assembly amended the Economic and Employment Improvement Program for Disadvantaged Persons. The program was originally created by Senate Bill 699, which was enacted by the Virginia General Assembly on April 22, 1998. The initiative grew out of a Joint Subcommittee of the Virginia General Assembly created to study the status and needs of African-American males in Virginia.|
Senate Bill 628 transferred the administrative responsibility for the Economic and Employment Improvement Program for Disadvantaged Persons from the Governor's Employment and Training Department (GETD) to the Virginia Department of Social Services (VDSS). The bill changed the statutory provisions of the program to extend educational and job training services to the following individuals: those who are eligible to participate in vocational education and job skills training programs under state and federal welfare reform laws; those who are ineligible to continue to receive assistance under state and federal welfare reform laws; and those who are returning to the community from state and federal correctional facilities. Educational and job skills programs under this initiative are required to be designed to assist eligible participants in moving from minimum wage jobs to college and to employment and occupations and education that will facilitate career development and economic independence. The Grant Awards Committee under the new legislation was expanded to include persons with expertise in the delivery of adult literacy programs, job skills training and apprenticeships, and state and federal welfare reform laws.
VDSS established the Grant Awards Committee as directed at § 63.1-133.58(A) of the Code of Virginia and designed the program to meet the new legislative requirements. The referenced Code specifies that the composition of the Committee must include representatives from the following entities:
(i) the State Board for Community Colleges;(ii) the Department of Education;
(iii) the Virginia Employment Commission;(iv) the Department of Labor and Industry;
(v) the Department of Social Services;(vi) a local social services department;
(vii) the Department of Corrections;
(viii) a local workforce investment board member designated by the Commissioner of the Virginia Employment Commission; and
(ix) a representative of four-year institutions of higher education whose service areas and student populations are comprised of disproportionately high percentages of disadvantaged persons, designated by the Chairman of the State Council of Higher Education.
In its design of the program, VDSS included an additional goal taken from the federal welfare reform program, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF). The TANF goal chosen for inclusion is as follows: End dependence of needy parents by promoting job preparation, work, and marriage. Requests for Proposals were developed and issued, and the responses were evaluated. Final grant awards were made on March 15, 2001. As directed by the Code of Virginia at § 63.1-133.58(C), priority for the grant awards was given to projects designed to serve persons who were:
(i) historically underrepresented in Virginia institutions of higher education, and in management and at administrative levels in the business community;
(ii) residing in counties, cities, and towns with high local stress indicators and in economically depressed regions of the Commonwealth;
(iii) disproportionately represented in the workforce in minimum wage jobs and occupations requiring minimum education, training, and skills;
(iv) ineligible to continue to receive welfare assistance under state and federal welfare reform laws;
(v) eligible to participate in the programs included in the From Welfare to Work: The Virginia Independence Program and especially those eligible to participate in job skills training programs;
(vi) returning to the community from state and federal correctional institutions;(vii) chronically unemployed or hard-to-employ;
(viii) displaced by technological advances in industry; or(ix) subject to any combination of the above.