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HOUSE DOCKET, NO. 4026        FILED ON: 1/7/2014

HOUSE  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  No. 3956

 

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts

_________________

PRESENTED BY:

Tom Sannicandro

_________________

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:

Tom Sannicandro

7th Middlesex


HOUSE DOCKET, NO. 4026        FILED ON: 1/7/2014

HOUSE  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  No. 3956

By Mr. Sannicandro of Ashland, a petition (subject to Joint Rule 12) of Tom Sannicandro for legislation to create a transitional aid to families with dependent children career pathways trust fund.  Higher Education. 

 

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts

 

_______________

In the Year Two Thousand Fourteen

_______________

 

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 specialists positions in the department of transitional assistance 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, 2014. These sums shall be in addition to any amounts previously appropriated and made available for the purposes of those items. 

              SECTION 2.

              COMMUNITY COLLEGES

              7516-XXXX For the TAFDC Career Pathways Trust Fund as established in section 2LLLL of chapter 29 of the General Laws, 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

              OFFICE OF CHILDREN, YOUTH AND FAMILY SERVICES

              Department of Transitional Assistance

              4400-XXXX

              For education 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”;

              SECTION 3. 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 education opportunity coordinators established in section 5, 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.

              (n) annually 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 Pathways 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. 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. Section 5 of said chapter 18, as so appearing, is hereby amended by adding the following paragraph:-

              The commissioner shall establish education opportunity coordinator positions within the department. The coordinators shall work with recipients of cash assistance through transitional aid to families with dependent children who enroll in community colleges for the purpose of earning a certificate or two-year degree. The coordinators shall work with recipients, community colleges, and case managers. 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 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 on-campus coordinator.

              SECTION 5. 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 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, 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 who receive cash assistance under transitional aid to families with dependent children.

              (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 up to 3 months after the student’s cash assistance under transitional aid to families with dependent children expires if 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 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 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 Pathways 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.

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