About Bridging the Gap
Two of NHSA’s major areas of focus include family strengthening and nonprofit workforce development. Since 2008, we have made working to promote “caring workplace practices” – practices that contribute to employee wellbeing and organizational success, including employer sponsored benefits access – a priority.
Beginning in 2009, in response to the financial crisis, we shifted these efforts to center on improving access to “earned benefits” – public and private assistance programs like tax credits, nutritious food programs, child care subsidies and free or low-cost medical care.
Through the Bridging the Gap initiative, we’ve made huge strides in terms of identifying workplace-based benefits outreach practices that will truly make
a difference for frontline workers, organizations – and the clients and communities they serve – throughout the sector. To capture this, we have created
a document with some of these major findings from this important work. Our hope is that what we have learned and compiled in this report will help human
services organizations to more easily connect frontline employees with these vital supports.
Supporting Working Families Through Workplace Benefits Outreach
In 2009, with support from the Annie E. Casey Foundation, NHSA launched the Bridging the Gap initiative with four national members – Catholic Charities USA, Lutheran Services in America, United Neighborho od Centers of America and, Volunteers of America – aimed at connecting working families with benefits through HR-driven workplace outreach campaigns. Since that time, the initiative has doubled in size to include Goodwill Industries International, United Cerebral Palsy, and Youth Advocates Programs, Inc.
Through the Bridging the Gap Initiative, NHSA has provided training and technical assistance to over 150 HR professionals and other key staff with a reach to over 30,000 frontline workers in more than 500 local-level agencies ranging from single-site to multi-state organizations that provide services spanning child care to care for aging and disabled populations. Efforts are also now underway to grow our work beyond the workplace-based benefit outreach efforts to include the clients, constituents and communities we serve as well.
Making the Business Case for HR-Driven Benefits Enrollment
Based on learnings from the early testing in the Bridging the Gap initiative, in 2010 the Ford Foundation approached NHSA about testing HR-driven benefits enrollment through a three-year initiative. The goal of this work is to make the “business case” for employer-sponsored benefits enrollment through collection of data that demonstrates a positive correlation between connecting employees and their families with benefits and metrics such as retention and absenteeism rates as well as worker engagement and morale.
Throughout September 2013, NHSA will be working with three of its national members – Catholic Charities USA, Goodwill Industries International and United Neighborhood Centers of America as well as Seedco, creator of EarnBenefits Online (EBO), a screening and enrollment tool – to test the concept of integrating benefits enrollment into the traditional HR function.
Join us – Support frontline workers and their families!
Learn more about the Bridging the Gap Initiative through our outreach materials or download them to help us spread the word!
Earned Benefit Fact Sheet
Earned benefits include a range of public and private benefits and assistance programs that serve as way for low– and moderate–income working families to bridge the gap between what they
earn and what they need to cover basics such as medical care, healthy foods and affordable housing. Download this fact sheet to find out more
about what they are, how they can help and what NHSA is doing to increase access to them.
Overview of NHSA’s Bridging the Gap Initiative
Two of NHSA’s major areas of focus include family strengthening and nonprofit workforce development. Since 2008, we have made working to promote “caring workplace practices” – practices that contribute to employee wellbeing
and organizational success, including employer sponsored benefits access – a priority.
Making the Business Case for Earned Benefits
Earned Benefits aren’t just a way to support working families. They’re also essential for strengthening workplaces. When employers connect eligible staff with these programs, they’ll see positive outcomes
like increased retention, decreased absenteeism as well as higher morale and productivity. With funding from the Ford Foundation, NHSA, select member’s and Seedco will be testing HR-driven benefits enrollment
with the goal of collecting data that make the business case for this approach to benefits access. Read more about this work.
Direct Care Workers At-A-Glance
There are over 3 million frontline human service workers in America, many of whom qualify as low-wage earners. In fact, 41% of direct care employees – such as home health aides, child care workers, and residential
treatment staff – rely on earned benefits as income supplements. Learn more about the direct care employees who Bridging the Gap aims to support.
Benefit Uptake Rates At-A-Glance
Only 7% of families who qualify for all four of the major benefits – tax credits, medical care, food assistance and child care subsidies – actually claim them. Take a look at some of the uptake rates, and see why it’s so
important to get more families connected with the benefits they’re eligible for.
Bridging the Gap for Service Providers
Are you a service provider who is interested in connecting clients with these important benefit programs? NHSA’s Bridging the Gap is working to create resources that can be used to
support any one who may be eligible for the benefits, whether they’re a frontline human service worker or a client your organization serves. Learn more.
The Family Strengthening Policy Center was developed with support from the Annie E. Casey Foundation.