‘Welfare to Work’ Initiative Receives $750,000 to Help Rural Families

WILMINGTON, DE – Families in rural Delaware seeking to move from welfare to work will receive help from a $750,000 appropriation announced today by Senators Tom Carper and Joe Biden. The federal grant, which supports the state’s Welfare to Work program, will help welfare recipients become self-sufficient by providing transportation to and from previously inaccessible parts of the state. “Welfare to Work empowers participants with a strong sense of accomplishment as they become productive members of their community,” Carper said. “During my time as Governor, Welfare to Work reduced our welfare rolls dramatically. But there are still families who, because of where they live, cannot get to new jobs. This grant helps those families reach self-sufficiency.” “Expanding opportunities in the workforce, without ensuring that people can access them is like giving someone a bike without wheels,” said Senator Biden. “People who want to work and make a better life for themselves and their families are sometimes caught in a Catch-22 because they have no way of getting to and from work everyday. If we are seriously committed to reducing the number of families on welfare, we have to remove the barriers that prevent people from joining the workforce.” The grant will go specifically to the Jobs Access and Reverse Commute Grant Program, a component of Delaware’s Welfare to Work initiative. While the existing program is successful, many of the hardest to place clients are still looking for jobs as some of the most challenging transportation barriers remain. While most welfare recipients live in urban areas, the hardest to serve often live in rural areas of the state that fixed mass-transit routes do not serve. Developing alternative and cooperative transit services with other social service providers has been the most cost effective and dependable way of providing transit services to this population. The funds will be used to continue to provide non-traditional transit services such as vanpools, feeder services, reverse commute routes and employee shuttles. Senators Carper and Biden also announced today $11 million in federal appropriations for transit improvements in New Castle, $100,000 in economic development for Claymont, $4 million to fund statewide deployment of an Integrated Transportation Management System and $4 million for the Wilmington Transit Connector Project.