HOUSE DOCKET, NO. 858        FILED ON: 1/15/2019

HOUSE  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  No. 1220

 

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts

_________________

PRESENTED BY:

Natalie M. Higgins

_________________

To the Honorable Senate and House of Representatives of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in General
Court assembled:

The undersigned legislators and/or citizens respectfully petition for the adoption of the accompanying bill:

An Act relative to breaking generational cycles of poverty.

_______________

PETITION OF:

 

Name:

District/Address:

Natalie M. Higgins

4th Worcester

Mary S. Keefe

15th Worcester

Jack Patrick Lewis

7th Middlesex

Dylan A. Fernandes

Barnstable, Dukes and Nantucket

Christine P. Barber

34th Middlesex

Natalie M. Blais

1st Franklin

Michael O. Moore

Second Worcester

Rebecca L. Rausch

Norfolk, Bristol and Middlesex

Brendan P. Crighton

Third Essex

Mindy Domb

3rd Hampshire

James B. Eldridge

Middlesex and Worcester

Kenneth I. Gordon

21st Middlesex

David M. Rogers

24th Middlesex

Bruce E. Tarr

First Essex and Middlesex

Jonathan Hecht

29th Middlesex

Steven Ultrino

33rd Middlesex

Marjorie C. Decker

25th Middlesex

Brian M. Ashe

2nd Hampden

Michelle L. Ciccolo

15th Middlesex

Sean Garballey

23rd Middlesex

James J. O'Day

14th Worcester

Daniel J. Ryan

2nd Suffolk

James K. Hawkins

2nd Bristol


HOUSE DOCKET, NO. 858        FILED ON: 1/15/2019

HOUSE  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  No. 1220

By Ms. Higgins of Leominster, a petition (accompanied by bill, House, No. 1220) of Natalie M. Higgins and others for legislation to create a transitional aid to families with dependent children career pathways trust fund.  Higher Education.

 

[SIMILAR MATTER FILED IN PREVIOUS SESSION
SEE HOUSE, NO. 2226 OF 2017-2018.]

 

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts

 

_______________

In the One Hundred and Ninety-First General Court
(2019-2020)

_______________

 

An Act relative to breaking generational cycles of poverty.

 

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:
 

SECTION 1. To provide for the cost of creating a career pathways work-study trust fund and community college specialist positions for the purposes of the trust fund established in section 5, the sums set forth in section 2 are hereby appropriated subject to the laws regulating the disbursement of public funds for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2020. These sums shall be in addition to any amounts previously appropriated and made available for the purposes of those items. These sums shall be made available until June 30, 2021.

              SECTION 2.

COMMUNITY COLLEGES

              7516-XXXX For the TAFDC Career Pathways Trust Fund established in section 2RRRR of chapter 29 of the General Laws, inserted by this act, provided that the program shall be administered by the Middlesex Community College through its entity, the Massachusetts Community College Executive Office; provided, further, that no more than $100,000 shall be used to administer the program………………………………………………… $1,100,000

              7516-XXXX For education opportunity coordinators established in section 22B of chapter 15A of the General Laws, inserted by this act, 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

              SECTION 3. Chapter15A of the General Laws is hereby amended by inserting after Section 22A the following new section:-

Section 22B. (a) Middlesex Community College shall establish education opportunity coordinator positions, through its entity, the Massachusetts Community College Executive Office. The coordinators shall work with recipients of cash assistance through transitional aid to families with dependent children who enroll in community colleges across the state for the purpose of earning a certificate or two-year degree. Each community college shall have at least 1 on-campus coordinator.  Coordinators shall provide focused assistance to recipients, 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 coordinators shall work with recipients, community colleges, and case managers at the department of transitional assistance.  Middlesex Community College, through its entity, the Massachusetts Community College Executive Office, shall enter into a memorandum of understanding with the community colleges to ensure coordinators execute the duties of this paragraph. 

(b) Middlesex Community College, through its entity, the Massachusetts Community College Executive Office, and in collaboration with the department of transitional assistance, shall annually file a report with the chairs of the joint committee on higher education, the joint committee on children, families, and persons with disabilities, and the house and senate committees on ways and means 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 Pathways Trust Fund established in section 2RRRR of chapter 29; (4) graduation rates of recipients of cash assistance enrolled 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. The first report shall be filed on or before August 1 two years after said TAFDC Career Pathways Trust Fund is established and annually, on or before August 1, after that.

SECTION 4. Paragraph (B) of section 2 of chapter 18 of the General Laws, as appearing in the 2014 Official Edition, is hereby amended by adding the following clause:-

(t) take all necessary actions, including connecting individuals with education opportunity coordinators established in section 22B of chapter 15A, to ensure that individuals receiving cash assistance through transitional aid to families with dependent children may engage in community college programs where assessment shows their chances of achieving long-term careers will improve.

SECTION 5. Chapter 29 of the General Laws is hereby amended by inserting after section 2QQQQ the following section:-

          2RRRR. (a) There is hereby established and set up on the books of the commonwealth a separate fund to be known as the TAFDC Career Pathways 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, that the fund shall be administered by the Massachusetts Community Colleges Executive Office. Amounts credited to the fund shall be used by the college, without further appropriation, to carry out the purposes of the fund as set forth in this section.  Any monies unexpended at the end of the fiscal year shall remain in the fund and may be expended by the college without further appropriation.

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

(c) Both full-time and part-time students shall be eligible for funds under this section; provided, that full-time students shall have first priority for funds; provided, further that a full-time student shall not displace a part-time student, if the part-time student is already receiving funds under this section.

(d) Funds expended shall, to the greatest extent feasible, be for jobs at: (1) the community college; (2) an off-campus placement that provides career development opportunities that are related to the student’s course of study; or (3) an off-campus community service placement as defined in subsection (f). 

(e) The share from funds distributed shall not exceed 80 percent of the total compensation paid to students, with the exception of jobs at the community college the student attends, or that provide career development opportunities related to the student’s course of study.  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, career development 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 Massachusetts Community Colleges Executive Office 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 may remain qualified for other federal and state public assistance programs. The office may make reasonable adjustments to salaries and wages to maximize a student’s participation in other federal and state public assistance programs.

              (h) Funds shall not be expended under the program to compensate students for hours worked in excess of an average of 15 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 15 hours per week average.

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

              (j) Monies received from the Massachusetts TAFDC Career Pathways Trust Fund established in section 2RRRR 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.

              (k) 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.