Maurice MacDonald, Family and Consumer Sciences, (515) 294- 1983
Cindy Needles-Fletcher, Family and Consumer Sciences, (515) 294-8521
Kevin Brown, News Service, (515) 294-8986
ISU TO HOST WELFARE REFORM FORUM MARCH 23
AMES, Iowa -- An on-going study of 35 families in seven Iowa communities will be the focus of a March 23 forum on welfare hosted by Iowa State University's College of Family and Consumer Sciences. The forum is titled "Welfare Reform in Iowa: Welfare or Poverty Reduction?" and will be from 3 to 5 p.m. in the Pioneer Room of the Memorial Union. It is open to the public.
The study profiles the Iowa communities of Cedar Rapids, Mount Ayr, Fort Madison, Manchester, Hampton, Marshalltown and Storm Lake. Five families in each community were interviewed for the study. Among the preliminary findings of the continuing study are:
The forum will be opened by Shirley Zimmerman, who holds the College of Family and Consumer Sciences' Dean Helen LeBaron Hilton Chair. Zimmerman, a professor at the University of Minnesota, is a noted scholar on welfare reform issues, especially in the Midwestern states. She will provide a historical and political background on the current movement on welfare reform and issues.
- Employers, especially those in rural areas, have little understanding of their roles in getting people off of welfare and into the workforce.
- The strong economy is helping people on welfare find work, but that doesn't necessarily mean that they are finding good paying jobs with opportunities for advancement.
- Iowa cities need to focus on improving their livability rather than focusing on industrial and business recruitment.
- Several auxiliary issues are involved in the ability of a parent moving off of welfare permanently, including benefits, job flexibility, workplace climate and adequate childcare are among the issues related to the ability of a parent to move forward.
In addition to Zimmerman, a panel of state and local policy makers will discuss the issues raised by the forum and will be available to answer audience questions. Members of the panel will be Scott Miller, Ames Beyond Welfare project; state Senator Elaine Szymoniak (D-Des Moines); and state Senator Johnie Hammond (D-Ames), Iowa Senate Human Resources Committee.
The event is sponsored by ISU Families Extension, the Center for Family Policy, and the Committee on Lectures.
For more information, contact Cindy Needles-Fletcher at (515) 294-8521.
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