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November 6, 1998     Cape Gazette
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November 6, 1998

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Chance Continued from page 50s the job market has also given lo- cal employers "a better chance" at finding employees. In fact, A Better Chance (ABC) is the name the Carper administra- tion gave to its cornerstone pro- gram in a multiagency and private business partnering effort to help people break their dependency on welfare and find work that can im- prove their lives "People want to make-a life for themselves and their families," Carper said recently during an ABC video-seminar broadcast to each of the three Del Tech cam- puses. "We want people to work, and employers want people who are trainable and dependable. Our goal has been to connect those people to those jobs, and we're happy to say it is working well." In fact, the AB'C program in Delaware is as much about pro- viding a riew source of employees for businesses as it is for provid- ing a new way of life for welfare recipients. "It is truly a win-win situation," Carper said, explaining that people who learn a mar- ketable skill win with the ability to work, and businesses that employ them win by getting trained work- el's. There are at least 2,600 success stories attributed to Delaware's ABC program. That is to say, 2,600 formerly unemployed peo- ple - primarily unskilled women in their mid-20s, often with no work history - now have received state- sponsored training and are gain- fully employed by one of the many companies who have "part- nered" with the state in A Better Chance. Paving the road to work The Delaware Economic Devel- opment Office and Department of Labor, which train welfare clients for jobs and help place them with "partner" businesses, is one key agency in the welfare reform ef- fort. It also brings to the table the employers' perspective of what abilities and responsibilities make for a good employee. And it keeps an active pool of work-ready em- ployees for those businesses. The state fransportation depart- ment and transit corporation, which literally help people move from welfare to work, is adminis- tering a $75 million federal pro- gram aimed at helping welfare clients commute to training and job opportunities. "This may be one of the best-kept secrets in Delaware," acknowledged Trans- portation Secretary Anne P. Can- by during the seminar. "And it is vitally important in a state where 90 percent of the welfare recipi- ents don't have automobiles." Nancy Shevock of the trans- portation department notes that more than 70 percent of the wel- fare clients that have been assisted Career Closet sets holiday hours The Career Closet, a nonprofit resale shop, has set hours for the up- coming holiday season. The store will be open from l0 a.m. to 6 p.m., Thursdays and Fridays; Nov. 5, 6. 19.and 20; and Dec. 3.4, 17 and 18. Located in the Blue Hen Mall and Corporate Center, the Career Closet features a large selection of clean, fashionable used career clothing and accessories offered for resale at reasonable prices. BPW/Delaware. People Helping People, the First State Community Action Agency, the YWCA's Working Capital Delaware, and the Delaware State Housing Authority are co-sponsors of the Career Closet. For details or donations of good, used career clothing, call 398-3898. by the agency still have their jobs, and of those, 84 percent still use public transportation services to get to work. In addition, the Department of Health and Social Services works directly with welfare clients, coor- dinating assistance from outside agencies. For example, the state gives a welfare mother in the ABC irogram a monthly child- care stip6nd so she can take her children to a safe, preferred child- care facility. And grants are being offered to child-care providers to come up with new plans to cover weekends and evenings. Health-care plans are also of, fered to ABC clients who land part-time jobs or jobs where the employers don't supply health care to entry-level workers. And beginning in January, the state will contract with HMOs to pro- vide health care for kids of ABC clients. Providing incentives - Not only does the ABC pro- gram provide a ready work force for local companies, it also offers some incentives to local business- es who participate in the partner- ing effort to get welfare recipients working. There are two types of tax cred- its to businesses employing ABC clients. The first is a Work Oppor- tunity Tax Credit, wfiich can re- duce an employer's federal tax ii- ability by as much as $2,400 for each new, qualified worker or $750 for each new, qualified sum- mer youth worker. The second is the Welfare-to- Work Tax Credit, which gives a similar benefit to employers hir- ing long-term family assistance recipients, allowing a credit of up to $3,500 per qualified worker in the first year of employment and as much as $5,000 in the second year of employment. There is no limit on the number of emplQyees for whom the business can claim credit. C.T. Elliott, chief executive of- ricer of Peninsula Oil and Uncle Willie's convenience stores in Sussex County, is one of the many local business owners who have provided jobs for ABC clients. "We feel good helping the less fortunate improve their lives and their self-esteem," Elliott said. "What we've learned is that peo- ple coming off the welfare rolls are no different than other em- ployees. Some work well, some don't; some stay, and some don't. Giving them jobs is the right thing to do, and we ask more local busi- nesses to join us in this partner- ship." 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