Today is Earned Income Tax Credit Awareness Day. We hope this email finds you celebrating by spreading the word!
Performance Excellence Partners, Inc. (PEP) will conduct a webinar on Thursday, February 9th at 3PM (Eastern Time) to discuss the upcoming roundtables and the Program Map Toolkit. PEP will conduct six roundtables across the country in April and May. These roundtables will assist your programs to create Program Maps, which chart the key components of and show a client’s path through your HPOG program. Each grantee will receive a toolkit from PEP to assist you in preparing your Program Map. You will receive an invitation for the webinar early next week.
The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) is a refundable tax credit available to qualifying low-wage workers and their families. Anyone earning $49,078 or less from wages, self-employment, or farming in 2011 could qualify. The IRS estimates that only four out of five eligible workers claim their EITC. The 20 percent who do not claim their EITC could be missing out on up to $5,751 extra in their federal income tax refunds. You grantees know what a difference that money could make to your clients and their families.
Volunteer Income Tax Assistance sites offer free tax preparation services to low-income families and can help them determine EITC eligibility and claim the credit. To locate the nearest VITA site, call 1-800-906-9887.
With all the money they save through the EITC, low-income families will benefit from opening a savings account. Unfortunately, low-income families are often prevented from opening and maintaining savings accounts due to high minimum opening deposit, minimum balance, or direct deposit requirements. SaveUSA offers a solution: It works with banks to create savings accounts at free tax preparation sites, where low-income households can deposit a portion of their refunds into savings, with a match reward! Read more about Beyond Barriers Designing Attractive Savings Accounts for Lower-Income Consumers.
Research and Resources
The Hamilton Project has released findings from a study with direct relevance to your HPOG programs. Their paper, Building America’s Job Skills with Effective Workforce Programs: A Training Strategy to Raise Wages and Increase Work Opportunities, presents findings on the importance of developing workers’ skills through training and workforce development programs, and examines newly available evidence on policies that boost job opportunities and wages. Many of the Hamilton Project’s findings suggest strategies that you grantees are already implementing, so congratulations on being ahead of the curve! There is more to learn though, and these research findings will help you develop your programs as well as “sell” them to partners and clients.
The Tribal HPOG evaluation team—which some of you have worked with and most of you heard about in our last email and at the Annual Conference in November—has released its Year 1 Tribal Brief. This is the first in a series of practice briefs being developed by the team. The briefs will relate important lessons learned from the Evaluation of the Tribal HPOG programs. This first brief describes the unique aspects of the Tribal HPOG grantee organizations and the target populations they serve; introduces the program frameworks of the Tribal HPOG grantees; and provides an overview of the Federally sponsored evaluation of the Tribal HPOG grantees.
Read more about An Introduction to the Tribal Health Profession Opportunity Grants (HPOG) and Evaluation, December 2011.
The Aspen Institute’s Workforce Strategies Initiative has developed the Business Value Assessment (BVA) Toolkit to help workforce programs understand the worth of their workforce services in terms of time, money, and other important business factors. The Toolkit is targeted to workforce program staff and management in workforce development initiatives just like your HPOG programs. It was actually developed in part in health care workplaces, so it will be of particular relevance to you grantees.
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