Amendment #23 to S.1806

For TAFDC Career Opportunities Trust Fund and Educational Opportunities Coordinators

Mr. Sannicandro of Ashland move that the bill be amended in Section 2 by inserting after item 7070-0066 the following 2 items:-



“COMMUNITY COLLEGES



7066-XXXX

For the TAFDC Career Opportunities Trust Fund as established in Section 2LLLL of chapter 29 of the General Laws, provided, however, that than no more than $100,000 shall be used to administer the fund …………………………………………………. $1,100,000”;



OFFICE OF CHILDREN, YOUTH AND FAMILY SERVICES

Department of Transitional Assistance



4400-XXXX

For educational opportunity coordinators established in section 5 of chapter 18 of the General Laws to assist recipients of transitional aid to families with dependent children in earning a community college certificate or two-year associate’s degree …………………………………………………. $1,250,000”;





and further in Section 24 by striking out the figures: “12” and inserting in place thereof the following figures: “24”



And further in said section 24 by adding the following paragraph:-



Case managers shall take all necessary actions to ensure that individuals receiving cash assistance under transitional aid for families with dependent children may engage in educational programs, including but not limited to community college certificate or associate’s degree programs, where assessment shows their chances of achieving self-sufficiency will improve. Case managers shall connect individuals who elect to participate in community college certificate or associate’s degree programs with the appropriate coordinator as established in section 5 of chapter 18 of the General Laws.



and further by adding the following 3 sections:-



SECTION XX. Paragraph (B) of section 2 of chapter 18 of the General Laws, as amended by section 1 of chapter 65 of the acts of 2013, is hereby amended by adding the following 2 clauses:-



(m) take all necessary actions, including connecting individuals with Educational Opportunity coordinators established in section 5, to ensure that individuals receiving cash assistance may engage in community college programs where assessment shows their chances of achieving long-term careers will improve.



(n) annually, on or before August 1, file a report that shall include, but not be limited to:- (1) information regarding the efficacy of community college placements in developing careers for recipients of cash assistance; (2) the number of recipients enrolled in certificate or two-year degree programs at community colleges; (3) the number of recipients enrolled in a certificate or two-year degree program receiving grants under the TAFDC Career Opportunities Trust Fund established in section 2LLLL of chapter 29; (4) graduation rates of recipients of cash assistance enrolled full time in a certificate or two-year degree program; (5) employment rates of former recipients 6 months after completing a degree or certificate program; and (6) employment rates of former recipients 1 year after completing a degree or certificate program. No personal identifying information shall be used in the report.



SECTION XY. Section 5 of said chapter 18, as so appearing is hereby amended by adding the following paragraph:-



The commissioner shall establish Educational Opportunity coordinator positions within the department. The coordinators shall work with recipients of cash assistance who enroll in community colleges for the purpose of earning a certificate or two-year degree. The coordinators shall work with recipients of cash assistance, community colleges, and case managers. Coordinators shall provide focused assistance to recipients of cash assistance including but not limited to developing career plans, identifying a program of study, accessing financial aid and work study, and helping obtain other supports such as childcare and transportation assistance. The commissioner shall enter into a memorandum of understanding with the community colleges to ensure coordinators execute the duties of this paragraph. Each community college shall have at least 1 coordinator.



SECTION XZ. Chapter 29 of the General Laws is hereby amended by inserting after section 2KKKK the following section:-



2LLLL. (a) There is hereby established and set up on the books of the commonwealth a separate fund to be known as the TAFDC Career Opportunities Trust Fund, hereinafter referred to as the fund, to which shall be credited any appropriations, bond proceeds or other monies authorized by the general court and specifically designated to be credited thereto. Middlesex Community College, hereinafter referred to as the college, shall hold the fund in an account or accounts separate from other funds or accounts; provided, however, that the fund shall be administered by the Massachusetts Community Colleges Executive Office. Appropriations unexpended at the end of the fiscal year shall remain in the fund.



(b) The fund shall be used to provide and fund employment opportunities for students enrolled full time in a certificate or two-year associate’s degree program at any community college that receive cash assistance under transitional aid to families with dependent children support their families.



(c) Funds shall be expended to reimburse or pay students receiving cash assistance under transitional aid to families with dependent children and enrolled full time in a certificate or two-year associate’s degree program at any community college, provided students may continue to qualify for reimbursement or payment for 3 months after the student’s cash assistance under transitional aid to families with dependent children expires if the the student is still matriculated.



(d) Funds expended shall, to the greatest extent feasible, be for jobs at an off-campus community service placement as defined in subsection (f) or the college the student attends. For any funds expended for profit-making off-campus employers, said employer shall conduct business in the commonwealth and shall, to the greatest extent feasible, provide demonstrable benefit to the student’s academic or vocational pursuits.



(e) The share from funds distributed shall not exceed 80 percent of the total compensation paid to students, with the exception of off-campus community service placements as defined in subsection (f). Employers shall pay the costs of any employee benefits including all payments due as an employer's contribution under the state workman's compensation laws, federal Social Security laws, and other applicable laws. The federal work-study program shall not be used to provide the employer’s share of student compensation.



(f) An off-campus community service placement shall include direct service planning, or applied research that is designed to improve the quality of life for residents of the community served, particularly low-income residents, in such fields as health care, child care, education, literacy training, welfare, social services, public safety, crime prevention and control, transportation, recreation, housing and neighborhood improvement, rural development, and community improvement. Placements shall be identified by the college through formal or informal consultation with local nonprofit, governmental, and community-based organizations.



The placement shall not be at an organization for whom a substantial portion of its mission is political activities, including but not limited to electing candidates, influencing ballot questions, and raising money for political campaigns.



(g) Students shall be paid the rate of pay as compared to entry-level salaries and wages provided other employees engaged in similar work, provided total applicant resources shall be considered to ensure to the maximum extent feasible that students remain qualified for federal and state public assistance, including but not limited to Pell grants, the supplemental nutrition assistance program, the low-income home energy assistance program, and MassHealth. The office may make reasonable adjustments to salaries and wages to maximize a student’s participation in said public assistance programs.



(h) Funds shall not be expended under the program to compensate students for hours worked in excess of an average of 20 hours per week over the period of enrollment or 40 hours per week during vacation period. A student shall not be concurrently employed in the same position by the fund and the federal work-study program and exceed the 20 hours per week average.



(i) Students may receive academic credit for work experience gained through fund jobs.



(j) Students who fail to remain on target to graduate or earn a certificate in the regular duration of a full-time student may no longer be eligible for monies from the fund, subject to the discretion of the commissioner.



(k) Monies received from the Massachusetts TAFDC Career Opportunity Trust Fund established in Section 2LLLL of chapter 29 of the General Laws shall not count against a recipient’s income, assets, or any other eligibility standard in qualifying for cash assistance benefits.



(l) The college and the board of higher education, hereinafter referred to as the board, shall enter a memorandum of understanding to ensure that funds are properly expended and disbursed. The college shall enter into agreements with employers, community colleges, the department of transitional assistance, and others for the operation of the fund. These agreements shall include such provisions as the office may deem necessary or appropriate to carry out the purposes of this section. These agreements shall be made available to the board upon request.