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Use of TANF funds to support summer jobs for youth

Dear Colleague Letter

Published: March 22, 2012
Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)
Dear Colleague

Department of Health and Human Services

United States
Department of Health and Human Services

Department of Labor logo

United States
Department of Labor


March 22, 2012

Dear Colleague:

As we look forward to next summer, we know many young people will seek to gain valuable work experience during those months.  We want to remind State agencies that they have the potential to expand the job opportunities for low-income youth by allocating Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) resources to summer youth employment programs and supportive services such as job shadowing and mentoring.

With the availability of the TANF emergency funds during fiscal years 2009 and 2010, we saw State and local TANF agencies throughout America play a crucial role in creating or expanding subsidized youth employment programs that operated during the summer months.  TANF agencies entered into key partnerships with State and local Workforce Investment Boards (WIBs) and organizations in their communities, allowing for the combination of resources and effective execution of large jobs programs in a short period of time.  By September 2010,          24 States and the District of Columbia created partnerships between their TANF and workforce development agencies to create youth employment programs, and 138,050 youth had been placed in subsidized jobs funded in whole or in part by the TANF Emergency Fund.

Over these two summers, we witnessed the benefits that summer youth employment programs can bring to a community: youth were connected to the labor force and were given the opportunity to build new and valuable skills; community members earned needed income, and in turn, supported local economies; and businesses and non-profit organizations were provided with the resources needed to hire employees.

While emergency funds are no longer available, States continue to have the opportunity to use Federal TANF and State maintenance-of-effort (MOE) funds for the creation and expansion of subsidized summer employment programs and additional activities such as job shadowing and mentoring for low-income youth.  All expenditures that qualified for Emergency Fund reimbursement remain allowable expenditures, including employer supervision and training costs that can be claimed as third-party MOE.

Pavetti, LaDonna, Liz Schott, and Elizabeth Lower-Basch, Creating Subsidized Employment Opportunities for Low-Income Parents: The Legacy of the TANF Emergency Fund, CBPP and CLASP, 2011  http://www.cbpp.org/files/2-16-11tanf.pdf

We encourage State and local TANF agencies to work with WIBs to explore ways to combine resources in developing or expanding subsidized employment programs and related supportive services.  Where appropriate, programs may co-enroll youth in the TANF and applicable Workforce Investment Act (WIA) programs so that participants in TANF-funded subsidized employment opportunities can benefit from additional WIA services such as occupational skills training and other relevant services.  In addition, we encourage State and local TANF agencies to pursue partnerships with State Community Services Block Grant (CSBG) offices and local CSBG entities to identify opportunities that may exist at the State and local levels for supporting and integrating subsidized employment efforts with life and work skills programs provided by local nonprofit agencies, such as Community Action Agencies.

Please see the Information Memorandum No. TANF-ACF-IM-2012-01, available on the Office of Family Assistance website (http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/ofa/), for additional guidance on how to target and structure your programming to include subsidized employment and related services.

Additionally, for guidance on how to partner with the CSBG State offices and local CSBG entities, the CSBG Information Memorandum No. 126 can be found on the Office of Community Services website.

We appreciate all that you do to help the vulnerable children and families in your States.  If you have any questions, please feel free to contact the TANF program manager in your region.




George H. Sheldon
Acting Assistant Secretary
    for Children and Families
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services


Jane Oates
Assistant Secretary
Employment and Training Administration
U.S. Department of Labor