SEMCA Rolls Out TuaPath Across Monroe and out-Wayne Counties in Michigan
The Southeast Michigan community Alliance (SEMCA) is the latest Michigan Works! agencies to launch TuaPath in support of PATH (Partnership. Accountability. Training. Hope), a program for participants who receive cash assistance funded in part with Temporary Aid to Needy Families (TANF) funds). The service area includes both Monroe County and Wayne County (excluding the City of Detroit).
Participants enrolled in PATH are required to perform certain activities in order to maintain their cash assistance which includes submitting documents, tracking hours and other activities in which they must transmit these documents to their Career Coach at one of SEMCA’s six American Job Centers. The current paper-based system unnecessarily burdened Career Coaches as too much time was spent collecting, verifying and tracking work participation (WP) requirements instead of focusing on understanding what the participant’s family needed and aligning services that connects to their goals and dreams for the future.
To modernize their system and reinvent how they engaged with families experiencing poverty, SEMCA issued a request for proposal for an online data management tool that meets the following criteria:
- Allows participants to outline their goals and the action steps to achieve self-sufficiency (IRP) and track their ongoing progress.
- Allows participants to enter and track electronically employment and/or self-sufficiency related activities and hours and upload verification documentation (pay stubs, attendance forms, etc.).
- Allows participants to complete entirely online assessments, questionnaires and mandatory forms and to electronically sign as needed.
- Provides participants with full transparency with the ability review and download data entered and documentation submitted at any time.
- Staff can review and approve work participation hours and activity requirements and documentation for compliance and track outcome data at a provider, coach and participant level.
- Staff can track participants’ goals and progress towards employment outcomes.
- Can be accessed by computer, tablet or smartphone.
- Send text and email behavioral nudges around due dates and scheduled appointments to increase engagement and help participants to strengthen executive functioning skills.
TuaPath was awarded the business and has since implemented and rolled out its platform to staff across six service contract providers.
“TuaPath will allow our customers to share information in real time versus having to wait for the customer to report to thes American Job Center, which can be problematic at times. Additionally, the opportunity to show our customers their victories allows us to continuously practice the Family Centered Coach.” said Charmarrah Banton, Manager of PATH
As SEMCA offices remain closed due to COVID-19, all new program participants are required to complete the entire orientation process in TuaPath. Initial feedback has been overwhelmingly positive as participants are able to work on one or two modules at a time, at their own pace. Many Career Coaches are excited to see all the steps and forms successfully completed, and in detail, before their first meeting with the participant.
Career Coaches appreciate how TuaPath has streamlined the paperwork process as all the forms are built out in TuaPath. There is no shuffling through piles of paperwork or scouring your email Inbox to find a file. It’s all managed and accessible in TuaPath.
While it’s too early to tell for sure, there is speculation that when there is a return to “normal” orientations will be completed in TuaPath, as it just makes sense. Completing orientation virtually removes the barriers of childcare, transportation, and having to get time off from work.
The verdict is out as to the extent to which TuaPath will reduce the administrative burden for Career Coaches to track work participation compliance. With numerous businesses in Michigan still minimally operational due because of COVID -19 and most work experience programs, internships and community service placements no longer available, waivers for work participation requirements still remain in effect. Until the economy opens up, we’ll just have to wait and see for those results.
SEMCA is a 501(c)(3) Michigan Non-profit Corporation that administers various human services programs in Monroe County and out-Wayne County. Since 1996, SEMCA has been a leader in talent development programs and partners with various community organizations and contractors to serve residents in Wayne and Monroe counties, excluding the city of Detroit. To learn more about the services SEMCA provides, visit www.semca.org