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Network Team Presents on Collective Trauma at PA Workforce Development Conference

October 26, 2020

Network staff members Alie Huxta and Micheal Moody presented remotely at the Pennsylvania Workforce Development Association (PWDA)​ Conference with Network advisor Jessica Siegle. 

The Network's presentation focused on addressing collective trauma Black families have experienced through the welfare system. It stressed the importance of creating a trauma-informed and healing-centered culture in the welfare system as well as the need for policy changes to the Pennsylvania the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program. Necessary changes include removing asset limits for eligibility and raising the TANF monthly allotment to meet the real need of families.

"Very few presentations at this conference focus directly on addressing the root causes of economic disenfranchisement of the workforce such as current and historic racism," said Huxta when discussing the importance of the presentation. This conversation is not only necessary but timely following the statement made this summer by DHS that they can no longer pretend they do not implicitly discriminate against Black people.

"We want to hold them accountable and find partners and other folks in the state who want to work on this as well," she said.

The annual PWDA conference was held October 21 to 23, 2020, and brings together organizations and professionals from across the state who work with workforce innovation and opportunity and state funded employment initiatives such as TANF and the Keystone Education Yields Success (KEYS) programs. The conference is typically attended by the governor and/or Secretary of Department of Human Services and other top officials from the state, and was presented remotely this year due to COVID-19.