Tanana Chiefs Conference (TCC) Athabascan Self-Sufficiency Assistance
The Tanana Chiefs Conference (TCC) Tribal TANF program is known as the Athabascan Self-Sufficiency Assistance Partnership (ASAP) and is part of the TCC's P.L. 102-477 program. The Tribal TANF service area is the largest in the country and the program faces particular challenges because it includes 37 Tribes, many remote areas, as well as a large urban population in Fairbanks, Alaska.
The Tanana Chiefs Conference (TCC) is located in Fairbanks, Alaska and 37 federally recognized Interior Alaska Tribes, covering a total of 235,000 square miles of Alaska. To meet the urban needs, TCC has developed a "one-stop" where participants can access most social services in one building. The center operates under a "front office/back office" model in which families are helped directly in the front office and Tribal staff manage the administrative issues and combined funding streams to meet customer's needs in the back office. TCC has arranged staff according to function, not program, and has created open air work environments, which display the collaboration between programs. In each of the 37 remote villages, TCC has created a half-time position called a Tribal Workforce Development Specialist (TWDS). The TWDS represents the single point of contact for all social service programs provided by TCC and the State (TANF, SNAP, General Assistance, Energy Assistance, etc.). TWDS are trained through on-site, intensive internships at the TCC central office in Fairbanks upon employment.
This program provides a variety of financial assistance, including:
- General Assistance: The program provides some financial assistance to help pay for shelter, utilities, food and clothing costs during the months when there are few employment opportunities.
- Burial Assistance: Burial assistance provides financial assistance to help with funeral costs up to $2,500.00 which $400 can be used for potlatch supplies.
- Emergency Assistance: Emergency assistance provides $1000 per household in the event that someone’s home has been damaged by flood or fire.
Each year, TCC organizes a region-wide event that TCC calls GILA "(Let's GO!)," which brings all of TCC's TANF participants together to one location in Fairbanks for employment workshops and resume updates, and to participate in a job fair in a motivational and exciting atmosphere. Though this is expensive, most participants leave the "GILA" with subsidized employment. The "GILA" is financed by program cost savings throughout the year. Additionally, TCC maintains a good working relationship with the State. The programs work together to co-train staff from each organization. Additional support for TANF participants who earn subsidized employment occurs through deployment of contracted Job Coaches who motivate and mentor participants.
TCC helps many participants find employment, some full-time and some seasonal. Even if a participant is employed seasonally, TCC creates a financial boost for their family. If TCC helps participants find seasonal employment for three months, the program saves money by not spending it on cash assistance for those three months. The cost savings are used to provide an expanded level of supportive services and to finance the subsidized employment aspect of the program.