Purpose and Summary.
The Jobs Plus program develops locally-based, job-driven approaches that increase earnings and advance employment outcomes through work readiness, employer linkages, job placement, educational advancement, technology skills, and financial literacy for residents of public
The place-based Jobs Plus program addresses poverty among public housing residents by incentivizing and enabling employment through earned income disregards for working residents and a set of services designed to support work including employer linkages, job placement and counseling, educational advancement, and financial counseling.
Ideally, these incentives will saturate the target developments, building a culture of work and making working residents the norm.
The Jobs Plus program comprises these three core components (further described below):
Employment-Related Services Financial Incentives – Jobs Plus Earned Income Disregard (JPEID) Community Supports for Work Applicants are encouraged to develop key partnerships to connect participants with any other needed services to remove barriers to work.
An Individualized Training and Services Plan (ITSP) should be developed for each participant to establish goals and service strategies, and to track progress.
Background HUD, the Rockefeller Foundation, and MDRC, through a public-private partnership, designed and supported the Jobs Plus program model between 1998 and 200 3. HUD has issued two separate evaluation reports on the demonstration, in an effort to identify and document the most promising approaches to increasing employment among families in public housing.
Each evaluation showed ongoing positive effects for residents when the program was well-implemented and included the three core elements.
More information on the findings can be found at http://www.mdrc.org/project/jobs-plus-community-revitalization-initiative-public-housing-families#overview.
Employment-Related Services Successful applicants must partner with the local Workforce Development Boards (WDB) and American Job Center(s) (AJC/One-Stop) in their area to offer multiple employment-related services for residents with a range of employment needs.
Local Labor Market Information (LMI) should be used both for initial planning and analysis of which employment opportunities are most available locally, and for monitoring ongoing trends.
Program services provided on-site should include, but need not be limited to, the following:
Career exploration/job readiness workshops Job search and job placement assistance Entrepreneurship workshops Work experience including on-the-job training, internships, pre-apprenticeships and Registered Apprenticeships (HUD encourages opportunities for residents to be paid while training) Facilitated connections to education and training opportunities Rapid re-employment if job loss occurs Proactive post-placement job retention support and career advancement coaching Access to computers, phones, fax, and copy machines and other supplies for participants’ employment-related uses and adequate training on how to use these technologies To facilitate these employment services, applicants may consider having dedicated on-site workforce system staff to perform job developer and case manager functions.
Job developers work directly with the business community to identify and create employment opportunities and act as liaisons with local employment agencies.
Case managers work one-on-one with participants to guide them through the employment process and help them achieve employment-related goals.
Financial Incentives – Jobs Plus Earned Income Disregard (JPEID) Successful applicants must also implement a financial incentive for program participants, known as the Jobs Plus Earned Income Disregard (JPEID).
This component will neutralize any rent increase due to rising earned income for Jobs Plus participants, removing a major disincentive to employment.
Rent incentives offered through JPEID will be reimbursed to the PHA via Jobs Plus appropriation, and should be included in the program budget.
Any other compensation to the PHA for lost rent revenues, such as by the standard EID calculation in the Operating Fund, will be offset manually to prevent overpayment of HUD funds to grant recipients.
Further guidance will be available at the time of the award.
All residents in a Jobs Plus development are eligible to receive the JPEID benefit, even if they do not actively participate in other Jobs Plus Activities.
But, in order to access JPEID, residents must sign up for the Jobs Plus program.
Residents who previously used up some or all of their lifetime EID eligibility are eligible to receive the full JPEID benefit.
When the Jobs Plus program ends, all rent will return to regular income-based at the time of the next rent recertification.
The JPEID excludes from the Family Rent calculation 100 percent of a participating resident’s incremental earned income for a period of up to 48 months, beginning on the date on which a public housing resident enrolls in the Jobs Plus program, and ending at the end of the grant period.
Calculation of the JPEID.
Once the JPEID is triggered for a resident their baseline income will not change for the duration of the term of the grant (so participants who enroll early may benefit from the JPEID longer than residents who enroll later).
To facilitate reimbursements for rent revenue losses due to the JPEID, grantees must calculate and document each participant’s Family Rent at the time of each rent re-certification, both before and after the inclusion of any participating resident's incremental earned income.
The difference between these two rents is the amount to be reimbursed to the PHA through JPEID (using Jobs Plus grant funds).
These calculations must be provided to HUD when drawing reimbursement funds.
As with any government benefit, an increase in earned income may cause the reduction or loss of other benefits that an individual was previously receiving.
Grantees, through case management or other means, must be prepared to help residents understand the overall financial impact of an increase in earned income and the JPEID.
It is also expected that grantees will encourage participants to take advantage of other financial work incentives they may be entitled to, such as the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC).
Community Supports for Work Community Support for Work (CSW) is a core component of the Jobs Plus program, reflecting the goal of building a caring and cohesive public housing community that is strongly committed to supporting residents’ progress towards economic security.
PHAs are expected to develop a strategy to promote CSW and include that strategy in its workplan.
The strategy should include multiple intentional and complementary steps to build CSW falling into two main categories:
Activities that build a caring and cohesive public housing community.
For Jobs Plus to be successful, PHA staff members need to trust residents, residents need to trust PHA staff, and ultimately residents need to trust each other.
Activities to build trust, create a sense of community, build a sense of shared purpose, train residents leaders, build resident self-confidence, and reduce the social isolation of individual residents are all important for achieving this goal.
Social activities that focus primarily on getting residents out of their units are helpful but not sufficient to achieve this goal.
Informal and nontraditional activities that support residents’ progress toward economic security.
Through the Jobs Plus program, residents will have access to case management, job training, employment placement services, and the Jobs Plus Earned Income Disregard.
This component of CSW focuses on steps that go above and beyond these formal Jobs Plus activities.
Examples include residents helping other residents prepare their resumes and learn about new job openings, residents driving residents to job interviews and setting up carpooling arrangements, residents providing residents with motivational support and residents watching each other’s children during a job interview.
Broadly communicated messages about the importance of work and how “work pays” also contribute to this component of CSW, as do motivational speakers, exposure to internal and external success stories, and the marketing of stories about residents’ success in finding a job and moving up the career ladder.
CSW is something that engages the entire public housing community and not merely the residents that choose to formally engage with the Jobs Plus program through the case management processes and job training programs.
This includes not only residents but also PHA staff who are not otherwise involved in the Jobs Plus program, such as property management or maintenance staff who can encourage residents to participate in Jobs Plus.
Successfully executing the formal parts of the Jobs Plus program will not, on its own, enable a PHA to achieve the full transformative potential of CSW.
While the successful enrollment of a large share of residents in formal Jobs Plus activities will obviously be helpful in laying the groundwork for a broader sense of shared purpose, it is not enough.
Intentional steps to foster community and encourage residents to help other residents are needed.
Successful applicants will incorporate a robust engagement strategy for involving the residents in the targeted development and creating a working community where there is effective collaboration between the PHA and the residents.
Engagement is more than signing up – sustained involvement in the program through effective communication among the resident population, leading to residents' ownership of their own growth and experiences, and that of peers, will yield continued benefits for both participants and future residents of the development beyond the grant period.
Program outreach should be directed towards residents at all points along the employment spectrum – from unemployed individuals with no work history to working, underemployed families with substantial work history.
The application narrative should include strategies to target this wide range of potential participants and any barriers they might face, as well as strategies for retention.
One key strategy for program retention should include the use of residents as Community Coaches.
Community Coaches should be empowered to help shape program offerings and outreach efforts based on their intimate knowledge of the needs and strengths of the community, create programs and activities related to employment supports, collect feedback about the program and serve as the voice of the residents in governance meetings.
Additionally, they can be used to market the various aspects of the Jobs Plus program, disseminate information about job opportunities and programs via resident social networks in the development, and mentor specific individuals or groups who enroll in Jobs Plus