I have business people come to me all of the time asking for a “grant” for their business. Although I don’t think they all believe me, I have to break the harsh news that grants are not provided to for-profit businesses. No one wants to give you money to make money without wanting something in return. This was my thinking when I heard about the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) Jobs Plus program. Initially, I only heard that you could be reimbursed for 100% of your worker’s salary. I was extremely skeptical because I find it hard to believe that you can get anything in life for free. However, this program seems like it could be a huge benefit for small business owners as well as the people receiving federal assistance and wanting to reenter the workforce.
I did some research and found out how the program works. Here are a few of the facts. For more information contact your local Department of Human Resources (DHR) or Department of Human Services (DHS).
- The program is a subsidized work program that is administered by your DHR or DHS. There may be a few variations of the program’s details depending on your state of residency.
- The employer determines the wage rate and pays the employee directly. The rate should be at least or above minimum wage.
- There is no requirement for the employer to hire the worker at the end of the subsidy program, which typically lasts about six months.
- Employers are reimbursed through their state DHR or DHS for the employees gross wages which includes taxes and worker’s compensation for a maximum of 26 weeks.
- Employers can not replace their current workforce with JOBS workers.
- The employees must be placed on the employer’s payroll and are considered temporary workers until the end of their subsidy. Then the worker may be released or hired as a permanent employee.
- Some states limit the number of JOBS employees that compose your workforce.
- In many states, the TANF recipients can continue to receive benefits while receiving the subsidy to assist in the workforce transition.
How can you take advantage of this program?
- Contact your local DHR or DHS office with the job description for your open position
- DHR/DHS will refer eligible TANF clients to you for an interview
- You select a candidate – it is wise to interview TANF and nonTANF candidates to ensure you fill the position with the best possible candidate and not just the cheapest
- If you decided to hire the TANF worker, contact your DHR/DHS case worker to begin the paperwork required to receive your reimbursement.
I hope this information helps to not only get more people back into the workforce but also to demystify the stigma that everyone receiving “welfare” doesn’t want to work. There are some honest and hard-working people who have fallen on hard times and need a hand up. However, with the difficulties in our economy, you may need help but not be able to afford it. That help could take your business to the next level and hopefully this program can serve as a catalyst in that movement forward.