Welfare recipients recognized for bettering themselves

About 30 people at HCC were recognized

HOLYOKE, Mass. (WWLP) – It was a big day for welfare recipients who want to become more independent.

22News was there Tuesday as they took a step toward bettering themselves as the DTA works toward improving the integrity of the program.

It has been 17 months since Dan Curley resigned as Commissioner of the Department of Transitional Assistance amid allegations of rampant welfare fraud and misspent tax dollars.

Since then, the new Commissioner Stacey Monahan has been working to restore faith in the state’s welfare program. “We’ve blocked over a thousand locations where you cannot use your cash benefits to make a purchase or make an ATM withdrawal at that store,” Monahan said.

On Tuesday the state demonstrated their efforts to help welfare recipients get back to work. About 30 people at Holyoke Community College were recognized for achieving some level of success on their career path, be it getting a high school diploma, completing a job training course or even better, getting a new job, like Springfield’s Amanda Solo.

“Currently I have three job offers on the table, today was the big one that I wanted and I received,” Solo said.

Or Josmery Henriquez of Springfield who wants to provide for her kids on her own. “As soon as I can, when I’m done with college, I can be independent, provide for my kids provide them a better future than what I had in the past,” Henriquez said.

Monahan told the 22News I-Team she expects to see more positive changes to the program over the next several months as the governor prepares to sign a welfare reform bill.

“There’s a lot in the bill as it relates to job training opportunities and the career ladder that this event is sort of the focus of,” Monahan added.

She says there is still more work to be done but she’s happy with the progress made over the last 16 months.

30 people were honored at HCC but there was 300 total in our area, who couldn’t be there, were recognized.

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