The Connecticut Commission on Children
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Public-private partnership announces fund to help parents remove barriers to employment

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 30, 2014
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Contact for the Commission on Children
Kevin Flood
(860) 240-0078
kevin.flood@cga.ct.gov

Contacts for the Liberty Bank Foundation
Sue Murphy
(860) 638-2959
smurphy@liberty-bank.com

Betty Sugerman Weintraub
(860) 704-2181
bweintraub@liberty-bank.com

HARTFORD— With Governor Dannel Malloy, state legislators, and leading business people on hand, a private-public partnership will announce at a news conference on Friday, January 31, the launch of a fund aimed at helping Connecticut parents succeed in a still-difficult job market.

workpath logoThe news conference is set for noon in Room 1-A of the Legislative Office Building, at 300 Capitol Avenue in Hartford. Several of the presenters are available for interviews before and after the event.

The partnership will unveil the WorkPath Fund, which will distribute small, one-time grants to help parents with dependent children defray the costs of uniforms, transportation, child care, licensing fees, and other expenses that would otherwise stand as barriers to employment.

The Fund is the work of a partnership that includes the Liberty Bank Foundation, the Connecticut Commission on Children, the Workforce Alliance, the five Connecticut Workforce Investment Boards, Cronin and Company, the Connecticut Association of Family Service Agencies, and United Way 211 Infoline.

Already, the Fund has raised $105,500 from philanthropic sources. Working through the state’s CTWorks Career Centers, it will distribute the money in one-time grants of $250 to $1,000 to eligible parents.

Presenters at the news conference will include:

The Fund grew out of a provision in Public Act 10-133, An Act Concerning Children in the Recession. This ground-breaking legislation stemmed from public hearings held across Connecticut by the Speaker’s Task Force on Children in the Recession, co-chaired by Representative Urban, former state Representative Karen Jarmoc of Enfield, and Senator Terry Gerratana of New Britain.

The Task Force, along with businesses like Liberty Bank, immediately recognized that parents seeking employment in tough times often face a cruel paradox—that they need money in order to make money.

"Imagine you’re a parent who’s been unemployed for a long time, and you finally have a chance to get a job—but then you find you have to pay for uniforms, or a license, or another job-related expense, and you just can’t afford it," said Chandler J. Howard, president and CEO of Liberty Bank and the Liberty Bank Foundation. "WorkPath is designed to remove that barrier and enable eligible parents to work and support their families."

Elaine Zimmerman, executive director of the Connecticut Commission on Children, noted that Connecticut was among the first states to look from the family’s point of view in trying to improve employment. The Task Force in particular, she said, "helped the state focus our efforts on family hunger, lost housing, youth and adult unemployment. It also helped us see how we needed to become rapidly more customer-friendly to the family in such high-stress times. The WorkPath fund is a part of that package—and one that we learned was paramount for so many families to make ends meet."

About the Commission on Children: Created with bipartisan support in 1985 by the Connecticut General Assembly, the Commission on Children brings together the various levels of government, the private sector, nonprofit agencies, and philanthropy to promote public policies in the best interests of children. Its board members, who serve as volunteers, are appointed by legislative leaders of both parties. It has a staff of seven. For more information, visit www.cga.ct.gov/coc

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