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Rep. Jarrells Announces Plans to Reintroduce A HAND UP Act to Support Ohioans Transitioning from Public Assistance to Workforce

February 22, 2024
Dontavius L. Jarrells News

COLUMBUS - State Rep. Dontavius Jarrells (D-Columbus) today announced, in a move to combat the economic barriers hindering Ohioans' transition from public assistance to the workforce, his reintroduction of The Actionable Help and New Dignity for Upward Progression (A HAND UP) Act. This innovative legislation aims to establish a pilot program through the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS) to effectively address the challenges associated with the benefits cliff.

“The A HAND UP Act is about breaking down the barriers that keep Ohioans from achieving economic independence and success,” said Rep. Jarrells. “We are committed to transforming the benefits cliff into a bridge of opportunity, making work a viable pathway out of poverty."

The A HAND UP Act proposes a three-year pilot program offering support to public assistance recipients ready to enter the workforce but deterred by the potential loss of benefits due to minor increases in earnings. The program includes stipends for healthcare and childcare expenses, employer subsidies for hiring participants, and access to financial literacy and independence mentorship.

In partnership with InnovateOhio, the act also seeks to develop a digital application to facilitate the program's administration, with a proposed funding of $10M for ODJFS in fiscal years 2025 and 2026.

The legislation, initially part of the House-passed version of the state's operating budget (HB 33) this General Assembly, unfortunately, did not make it into the final version. However, it has garnered support from various organizations, including the Ohio Chamber of Commerce.