News Release



For More Information:

William R. Steinhaus
Dutchess County Executive
(845) 486-2000

For Immediate Release

April 20, 1999


County Executive Approves $99,947 for Work NOW Program

Program Shows Success as Welfare Recipients Stay Employed


Poughkeepsie, NY - Dutchess County Executive William R. Steinhaus approved $99,947 for the 1999 Work NOW program. The $99,947 is for the part of the Work NOW project in which the county has partnered with the Poughkeepsie Chamber of Commerce to provide two job mentors for employed Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) recipients.

"This program was started in 1997 and has shown very positive results," Steinhaus said. "The goal is to help those on public assistance stay in jobs and become self-reliant."

The two mentors act as a liaison between the businesses which hire TANF recipients and the recipient who is employed. The average length of employment for a typical welfare recipient is approximately 3 months.

However those who took part in the county/ Poughkeepsie Chamber Work NOW program have kept their jobs for a full year.

The original goal was to begin with 30 TANF recipients and keep at least 25 employed for 6 months. "During our first year we started with only 25 individuals, but 24 kept their job for a full year and one went back to school," explained Steinhaus. "It was so successful that we were cautious about its success so as to not raise expectations." The mentors stay in contact with the TANF recipients to give them support, encouragement and assistance with work related concerns.

In 1998 a mentor was added to the Southern Dutchess Chamber of Commerce and in 1999, with monies  from the Private Industry Council, a third mentor will be added to the Poughkeepsie Chamber. The funding the County Executive included in the budget for the entire Work NOW mentoring program is presently $217,000.

The Dutchess County Department of Social Services (DSS) assesses TANF recipients for job readiness and the ability to participate in a job seeking and job retention program. DSS then makes a referral to the Dutchess County Department of Labor (DOL) which conducts Job Readiness Training Workshops for the referred TANF recipients. These workshops are enhanced by the local chamber.

"It made sense to work with the Chamber of Commerce on this project," said Bob Allers, Commissioner of the Dutchess County Department of Social Services. "Businesses trust the Chamber of Commerce because the chamber represents their needs."

"The Chamber is pleased with the success of the Work NOW program," said Jack Tarleton, President of the Poughkeepsie Area Chamber of Commerce. "The success of the Work NOW program proves that human development is economic development."

"As with all public/private partnerships, county resources better benefit the residents of the county," added Steinhaus. "The Chamber of Commerce is an expert when it comes to business. So we went to the experts." Each year the Dutchess County Economic Development Corporation (EDC) does a year-end analysis of the program. Peter Winne, Program Specialist for the EDC said, "The retention rate was high and it even caught the attention of those at the state level who showed an interest in copying our program."

Based on the success of the Work Now program, Dutchess County has twice been asked to present the results and operation of the program at the state level, once to the NY Public Welfare Association and then again to the NYS Department of Labor Conference.



County Executive Press Releases