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File #: 2023-494   
Type: Administrative Item Status: Passed
In control: Board of Commissioners
On agenda: 11/21/2023 Final action: 11/21/2023
Title: 2025 Contract Extension with Minnesota Family Investment Program Employment Services Providers
Sponsors: Workforce Solutions
Attachments: 1. Resolution

                                                                                                         

Sponsor: Workforce Solutions

 

Title

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2025 Contract Extension with Minnesota Family Investment Program Employment Services Providers

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Recommendation

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1.                     Extend the term of the Minnesota Family Investment Program Employment Service provider agreements for the period of January 1, 2025 through December 31, 2025. 

2.                     Authorize the County Manager to execute amendments to the agreements in accordance with the county’s procurement policies and procedures, provided the amounts are within the limits of available funding.

3.                     Authorize the County Manager to make temporary transfers, as needed, from the County General Fund to Workforce Solutions to cover program expenses until program funds are received, with repayment to be made upon receipt of the funds.

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Background and Rationale

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Ramsey County Workforce Solutions operates and administers the Employment Services portion of the Minnesota Family Investment Program (MFIP) and Diversionary Work Program (DWP) in Ramsey County. MFIP is the state of Minnesota’s version of the Federal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program, operated by the Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS). 

 

MFIP assists families with children meet their basic needs, while helping parents move to financial stability through work. In preparation for work, and/or retaining employment, participants are required to engage in Employment Development Plan goals and activities. MFIP employment services are provided directly by Workforce Solutions staff as well as by contracted providers.

 

DWP is a short term (four month) work-focused program that helps parents quickly find work so that they do not need to enroll into MFIP. The 2023 Minnesota legislative session resulted in the sunsetting of DWP by March 2026. Currently, the DWP employment services are provided by Workforce Solutions staff. 

 

In addition to MFIP and DWP employment services, the Consolidated Funds support the following:

                     Extension services: families that are post 60-months of the MFIP lifetime limit.

                     Emergency and Crisis Services/Childcare/Administration: through Financial Assistance Services.

                     Family Stabilization Services.

                     Support Services.

                     Paid work experience.

                     Career coaching and education or occupational skills training.

                     Incorporation of a family-centered service delivery model.

                     Racial disparity reduction services.

                     Meaningful community engagement.

 

Every five years, Workforce Solutions invites qualified contractors to competitively bid for the opportunity to deliver MFIP employment services. On May 1, 2019, Ramsey County Workforce Solutions released a Request for Proposal (RFP), in which, MFIP services began on January 1, 2020.  Upon board approval, the selected MFIP Employment Service providers below began operations in 2020. 

 

                     Avivo, 1900 Chicago Avenue, Minneapolis MN  55404

                     American Indian Family Center, 579 Wells Street, Saint Paul, MN 55130

                     Hmong American Partnership, 1075 Arcade Street, Saint Paul, MN  55106

                     hired, 217 5th Avenue North, Suite 300, Minneapolis, MN  55401

                     Young Women’s Christian Association, 375 Selby Avenue, Saint Paul, MN 55102

                     Goodwill Easter Seals of Minnesota, 553 Fairview Avenue North, Saint Paul, MN 55104

                     Network for the Development of Children of African Descent, 655 Fairview Avenue North, Saint Paul, MN  55104

                     Comunidades Latinas Unidas En Servicio, 797 East Seventh Street, Saint Paul, MN 55106

 

The term of these agreements is set to expire December 31, 2024 with no remaining renewal options.  After careful consideration, and to maintain continuity of services to residents, Workforce Solutions is returning to the board to request approval to extend the term of the current MFIP employment service contracts for an additional 12-month period from January 1, 2025 through December 31, 2025.

 

Postponing the release of the next MFIP RFP to 2025 will provide the additional time needed to carefully consider and re-evaluate MFIP service delivery in Ramsey County for the following reasons:

 

                     Since COVID began in 2020 and waivers having ended in late 2021, the caseload size in Ramsey County has been unstable and unpredictable, going both up and down. While this will continue to be difficult to predict, we have only begun seeing some stabilization in caseloads in 2023. With caseload size fluctuation there are also family support needs that have become more complex and intensive coming out of the pandemic.

 

                     Ramsey County’s recovery out of the COVID-19 pandemic has been lower and slower than other parts of Minnesota. The community-based partners delivering MFIP employment services are not immune to this slow recovery.  The additional time will allow for WFS to deepen partnerships with community organizations and work in partnership with MFIP families to appropriately assess the needs of families. 

 

                     Effective March 1, 2026, the Diversionary Work Program is repealed. When this change occurs, families previously eligible for DWP will be eligible for MFIP.  In preparation, the DWP staff will need to be transitioned to other employment service programs in the department.  Retaining the current contractual relationships will support this transition rather than have multiple transitions occurring for MFIP families concurrently.   

 

                     By 2026, WFS will have had two years of a full family planner working collaboratively with other departments and community partners to integrate early childhood, financial counseling, well-being, and other whole family services to better support families with stability and transition to livable wage jobs.  

 

                     ARPA Learn and Earn investments will end 2026 but by the end of 2025 there will have been at least two years of Learn and Earn services with evaluation results which will help further inform future programming of MFIP employment services.

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County Goals (Check those advanced by Action)

       Well-being             Prosperity                 Opportunity                 Accountability

 

Racial Equity Impact

Ramsey County serves approximately 2950 families through the DWP and MFIP programs. Of these, 85% are single-parent households, 85% are female/15% male, 54% African American, 22% White, 10% Asian, 7% Hispanic/Latino, 4% American Indian, and 3% unreported; additionally, 40% of individuals report a documented physical or mental health condition.

 

Workforce Solutions has engaged with community to co-create efforts to reduce racial and ethnic disparities. Below are some examples:

 

                     MFIP employment services continue to include partnerships and services that are culturally specific, where the services incorporate and build upon participant, family, community, and cultural assets.

                     Partners for Equity efforts- Workforce Solutions contracts with three culturally specific community-based organizations to deliver comprehensive, strength-based, and culturally specific family stability services to African American, American Indian, and Latino/Hispanic families receiving MFIP.

                     Significant co-investments of American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds with the city of Saint Paul to provide young adults with the required skills, certifications, and credentials to enter or continue a pathway to a gateway occupation.

                     Investing funds to increase community engagement efforts and to support employers to become more inclusive workplaces.

 

 

Community Participation Level and Impact

Over the last two years, Ramsey County Workforce Solutions has hosted community engagement opportunities to learn more about how families prefer to be engaged with employment counselors as well as their experiences with other programmatic aspects such as service delivery, customer service, and program design.  Below are community engagement activities that are ongoing and will continue to be strengthened for continuous improvement of DWP/MFIP service delivery: 

                     Host focus group conversations with families.

                     Strengthen current partnerships and building new ones with community organizations.

                     Utilize the evaluation of ARPA funded programs.

                     Assess what is learned through the WFS inclusive employer efforts. 

                     Evaluate community-based projects and get feedback from individuals.

                     Share program information with the Workforce Innovation Board of Ramsey County.

 

  Inform              Consult                                 Involve                      Collaborate        Empower                     

 

Fiscal Impact

On October 17, 2023, the Ramsey County Board of Commissioners approved the Minnesota Family Investment Program Biennial Service Agreement for 2024-2025 (Resolution B2023-181). Ramsey County is estimated to receive a Consolidated Funds allocation of $18,554,034 for 2024 and 2025 annually. This grant award is included in the proposed 2024-2025 biennial budget. The potential exists for additional funding to be received. Total funds will be subject to change based on allocation of funding from the Minnesota Department of Human Services annually.

 

 

Last Previous Action

On November 5, 2019, the Ramsey County Board of Commissioners approved the selected providers and agreements to provide Minnesota Family Investment Program services for the period of January 1, 2020 through December 31, 2022, with the option to renew for up to one additional two-year period (Resolution B2019-259).

 

On November 5, 2019, The Ramsey County Board of Commissioners approved the Sole Source agreement with Comunidades Latinas Unidas En Servicio to provide culturally specific family stability services to Minnesota Family Investment Program (Resolution B2019-260).

 

Attachments

None.