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Springfield Receives $2.5M for Missouri Work Assistance Program

The City of Springfield has recently been given about $2.5 million in government funding for the Missouri Work Assistance program. KSMU’s Ryan Welch has this report.

The $2.5 million grant will be used by the Missouri Career Center for a program that helps get people off of government assistance, or welfare. The money originated from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

The Career Center is operated by the city’s Department of Workforce Development. Bill Dowling is the director of the center. He said the money will go toward staffing, transportation, and reimbursement of the program’s expenses across a 14 county area, including Greene County.

Dowling describes what exactly the Missouri Career Center does for unemployed people.

“We work with them trying to get them ready for work. In other words, getting them in activities, education, training, job-search, things that can get them toward full-time employment again,” Dowling said.

Dowling says the center’s main mission is to get families self-sustaining wages so those families can do well and prosper.

“[There are] Two sides of it—we need to be serious about wanting folks to work, and enforcing that rule. But we also need to be serious that we’re giving people the tools they need to get off welfare,” Dowling said.

Dowling says taxpayers have the right to hold people on welfare accountable, but they should also give them the opportunity to leave welfare. That’s what this new grant will help them do.

Dowling says that education has always been the key to getting people off government assistance. He also says that not just any full-time job will move a family out of poverty—and that’s why he really stresses the importance of a strong education.

For KSMU News, I’m Ryan Welch.