Working Together to Make Work a Reality

Background
The National Transitional Jobs Network (NTJN), a project of Heartland Alliance, is a coalition of city, state, and federal policy makers; community workforce organizations; and anti- poverty nonprofit service providers and advocacy organizations committed to advancing and strengthening Transitional Jobs (TJ) programs around the country so that people with barriers to employment can gain success in the workplace and improve their economic lives and the economic conditions of their communities. Transitional Jobs is an employment strategy that seeks to overcome employment barriers and transition people with labor market barriers into work using wage-paid, short-term employment that combines real work, skill development and supportive services.

October 2010 History
The National Transitional Jobs Network was formed in the shadow of welfare reform in 2000 by a handful of workforce development, advocacy, foundation, and government leaders who came together to advance and promote effective workforce strategies, like Transitional Jobs, that support the entry and success of people with barriers to employment into the workforce. In October of 1999 the Center on Law and Social Policy (CLASP) and the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) organized a meeting of representatives of more than ten transitional employment programs throughout the country and numerous funding partners. The purpose of the meeting was to share lessons learned, identify common challenges and for the first time, to explore whether or not it would make sense to establish a “peer learning network” among the various programs working to help support the transition to work for individuals in their communities. In 2001 there was a growing sense among stakeholders that a more deliberate effort was needed to formalize, fund and staff a network focused on building program capacity and moving forward a job advancement policy agenda - thus the National Transitional Jobs Network was created to support program expansion, provide technical assistance, support policy development and advancements. In 2003, Heartland Alliance for Human Needs & Human Rights became the host agency for the National Transitional Jobs Network. Today, the NTJN has grown into a national coalition of over 4,000 stakeholders in over 30 states.

www.transitionaljobs.net ntjn@heartlandalliance.org

Activities
The NTJN’s charge in 2000 still holds today - to strengthen existing Transitional Jobs programs; promote adoption of TJ by more providers to reach a greater number of individuals in need; and advocate for increased federal attention to the employment needs of those who have the most difficulty finding and keeping a job. Today, the NTJN leads the national dialogue about employment and advancement strategies for groups considered hard to employ and is the national voice for stakeholders working to help these populations get, keep, and advance in employment. The primary activities of the NTJN include: • • • • • Dissemination and support of TJ best practices, research, and evaluation. Coordination of state and federal advocacy and policy development. Provision of technical assistance to groups across the country. Coordination of regional and national forums and conferences. Development and dissemination of communications materials and media outreach.

Highlights
In 2009 and 2010 the NTJN succeeded at moving federal dialogue forward at an impressive pace around the employment needs of people with barriers to employment. • Because of the NTJN’s efforts, the first-ever dedicated federal funding for Transitional Jobs programs, $45 million in the Department of Labor budget, was realized in 2009. • Through the Recovery Act, the NTJN was successful at ensuring that federal investments took into account the needs of people with barriers to employment, which resulted in federal funds for Transitional Jobs programs. $5 billion dollars was authorized for TANF emergency funds to help states support lowincome individuals through the economic crisis. Due to NTJN efforts to engage HHS, educate TANF administrators, and collaborate with other national groups over 30 states drew down funds to support subsidized employment and Transitional Jobs programs resulting in nearly 250,000 jobs created. The NTJN continued to educate, inform, and empower leaders in cities and states around the country to adopt strategies that take into account the needs of the hard to employ. • Our work has resulted in legislation in Wisconsin to serve 2500 low-income individuals with barriers to employment through Transitional Jobs, and to TJ reentry initiatives in Illinois and Michigan. • Our advocacy has built state-based collaboration and task force development, and city-led initiatives across the country in support of Transitional Jobs such as efforts in Chicago, Indianapolis, Boston, and Providence focusing on the needs of hard to employ populations. Finally, the NTJN’s thoughtful approach to supporting research and evaluation of Transitional Jobs and the development of tools and resources to advance the field has garnered recognition and respect for the NTJN’s role in supporting program advancements in order to best serve individuals with barriers to employment in getting, keeping and advancing through employment.
The National Transitional Jobs Network is (NTJN) is a coalition of city, state, and federal policy makers; community workforce organizations; anti-poverty nonprofit service providers and advocacy organizations committed to advancing and strengthening Transitional Jobs programs around the country so that people with barriers to employment can gain success in the workplace and improve their economic lives and the economic conditions of their communities. The NTJN supports a constituency of over 4,000 active members and stakeholders across the country. The NTJN is a project of Heartland Alliance for Human Needs & Human Rights.

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