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Businesses could be reimbursed for hiring workers on welfare

The Butler County Human Resource Managers’ Association hosted two guest speakers who came to talk about the JOBS Subsidized Employment Program (SEP).

Bobby Rogers, JOBS Case Manager for Butler County Department of Human Resources, said it may sound too good to be true, but it’s a real program.

“Anyone who has a business may be eligible for reimbursement for 100 percent of the salary of workers on welfare,” Rogers said.

The money comes with some restrictions. Rogers said employees are free to work any position, but must work 35 to 40 hours per week. Women with children under 5 may be eligible for anywhere from 25 to 40 hours.

“You hire these people and pay them the same as any other employee,” Rogers said. “When you pay them, you send in a form and the state will reimburse you.”

This check, Rogers said, will cover any taxes the business pays for the employee, but excludes workman’s compensation insurance.

Two Butler county eligible workers have already gained employment at the Bright Beginnings and First Steps program.

“The object of the program is that, if they are good workers, businesses might consider keeping these employees after the subsidized period,” Rogers said.

There isn’t any obligation on the employer’s behalf to keep them after that period. Rogers said they are free to end employment anytime during the six months or immediately thereafter.

Janice Grayson, Alabama Career Center In Greenville, explained more details of the program.

“80 percent of the funding comes from the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act and the other 20 percent comes from Temporary Assistance for Needy Families and other in-kind funds,” Grayson said.

The employees that are eligible to be hired have been provided with all the skills they need to help them become successful employees, Grayson said.

They have been shown how to look for a job, what to do during the interview and how to keep themselves employed by being positive and productive workers, she said.

“It is an opportunity for businesses to help themselves and help people that want to work,” Grayson said. “There is a minimal amount of paperwork, and there is no limit to how many of these types of employees you can hire.”

Businesses wishing to participate can contact the Butler County DHR at 382-4400 for more information.