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Forward Alliance Workgroup Ginny Powell & Ed Leahy Omaha EITC Coalition.

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Presentation on theme: "Forward Alliance Workgroup Ginny Powell & Ed Leahy Omaha EITC Coalition."— Presentation transcript:

1 Forward Alliance Workgroup Ginny Powell & Ed Leahy Omaha EITC Coalition

2 Goodwill’s Involvement Goodwill’s Mission: Goodwill Changes Lives and Strengthens Communities through Education, Training, and Work. Services & Programs Customer Connect: customer service training program for unemployed and underemployed adults Workforce Solution Center: Through Heartland Workforce Solutions, provides assistance to youth, adult, and dislocated workers seeking training and employment Work Experience: on-the-job training for high school youth with disabilities R.E.A.D.Y. : Job readiness classes and 1:1 assistance open to all Ability One: Supportive employment for persons with significant disabilities

3 Goodwill Industries Relationship to Coalition ▫Goodwill Industries is an agency partner in the Omaha EITC Coalition ▫Goodwill staff serve as an Advisory Board member, subcommittee chair, volunteer trainer and tax preparer ▫Give and receive complimentary, not competing services ▫Provide meeting space for Coalition meetings, subcommittees, and special events

4 Mission: The Omaha EITC Coalition promotes the claiming of tax credits through quality volunteer tax return preparation with a goal of providing educational tools and community resources for family asset development. Vision: The Coalition promotes financial stability through empowered customers who use tax credits and tax refunds to own and maintain assets. Values: Inclusiveness, Non-partisanship, Customer Empowerment, and Quality Service

5 Turning a Transaction into a Relationship



8 An individuals minority status can effect their income. The median weekly earnings of full time white workers is $850, however, African Americans make a median of $633, Asians $936, and Latinos $560. As these statistics indicate although people of all races are long-term unemployed the minorities are likely to have a smaller income, resulting in less ability to save for hard times such as unemployment

9 Ethnicity for Persons with Disabilities


11 Two-Year Comparison of Banked PWD


13 Bank on the Heartland Coalition was a founding partner VITA provides the most meaning outreach of the effort to connect people to banks and credit unions


15 PWD Troublesome Bills

16 Student Loan Debt by School


18 PWD Refund Use

19 Tax Year 2010 PWD Refund Use



22 VITA’s 2011 Value to Omaha ServiceProcessValue Savings on Tax Prep Fees5072 returns x $220 (average tax prep fee) $1,115,840 EITC Refund Impact$2,467,084 x $1.50 (estimated economic impact per EIC dollar) $3,700,626 Total RefundsMost often spent to reduce debt, pay bills, or buy a major appliance. $8,261,321 Volunteer Hours6159 hours x $21.36 (value of volunteer time) $131,556 Credit Report Counseling196 x $100 (cost to pull score, counsel client) $19,600 Bank Accounts$100 x 85 accounts$8,500 ITIN Applications$75 x 126 accounts$9,450 Total$13,246,893

23 Intersection of Tax Preparation and Taxpayer Education Educational Interview & Personal Financial Goals Significant Taxpayer Involvement at Every Step Promotion of Services, Referrals, and Broader Financial Education

24 Show me the Money!...and how to make the most of it

25 Non-Refundable Credits Defined Non-refundable credits are sums of money for eligible taxpayers who have certain expenses, conditions, or contributions that reduce tax The credits figure based on income tax ▫No tax=no credit The skill of the tax preparer can help manipulate the credits to maximize the refund

26 Refundable Credits Defined Refundable Credits are sums of money for eligible taxpayers who have certain expenses, conditions, or contributions that reduce tax and are applied as payments to any tax owed The remaining difference between tax and payment is added to the refund Sometimes, these amounts can be in the thousands of dollars

27 We Look for Every Credit, Every Dollar for Working People Additional Standard Deductions (age, blindness, disability) Itemized Deductions and Adjustments to Income to reduce tax Foreign Tax Credit Credit for Elderly and Disabled Credit for Dependent Care Retirement Savings Credit American Opportunity Education Credit Lifetime Learning Education Credit Child Tax Credit Residential Energy Credit Adoption Credit Earned Income Credit Refundable American Opportunity Credit Refundable Child Tax Credit

28 Policy Outreach on issues of importance to our customers


30 The Knowledge Economy A marketplace demand for employees to demonstrate a variety of skills and document the training and education level necessary to meet the job description before an employment offer is made A degree of acceptance that long-term unemployment will be a feature of the next few years of transition into the full implementation of the knowledge economy model which indicates a shift from government-driven economics to market-driven reliance on necessary public policy changes An emerging battle against traditional economic protections that have been a hallmark of the labor market including, but not limited to, the suppression of unionism, easing of environmental regulations, and favorable tax laws to allow for large-scale business development

31 Knowledge Economy (cont) A demand for quality amenities in public spaces at the expense of local governments such as recreation areas, sporting venues, quality restaurants, clubs, and entertainment venues. Many of these changes can be seen in Omaha: ▫Convention center ▫3 major sport and entertainment facilities

32 Job training Job training outside of the formal education venue is not only essential, but must reflect some of the priorities of the knowledge economy to give middle to low wage earners the best opportunities to succeed. While some are comfortable repeating the Scriptural phrase, “The poor you will always have;” we are not. Instead, we believe that as jobs begin demanding more skills, closing the resulting economic gap will increasingly require employees to provide documentation of quality multi-skills. “I have an engineering degree but one of the many barriers I face is that I recently graduated into a suffering economy. I’m not saying it’s impossible, but it’s definitely much harder to get a job right after you graduate.”-Omaha EITC Coalition Focus Group participant

33 Long-term Unemployment Defined as being out of work for 6 months or more. 45% of the those currently unemployed are long- term unemployed. Majority of those have been out of work for over a year. “When I apply [for a job] they look at me and think, ‘Why have you been out of work so long?’ I think it puts a flag by my name”  -Leslie, EITC Customer

34 But all is not bleak… The midlands has over come many barriers faced in other parts of the country Solutions are at hand: ▫Bridge Programs ▫LB 1144 ▫School grading revisions to include “employability factors” such as in Council Bluffs based on:  Participation  Work Completion  Behavior  Working with others

35 Solutions We advocate for more financial and technological education into job training programs. The changing economy offers many challenges Low to middle income individuals need assistance to learn how to navigate these changes There are several job training programs in place that offer a good start, but changes are necessary to effectively help our community during this time

36 Work group on persons with disabilities

37 Forward Alliance Campaign Raise Awareness of the Needs of Persons with Disabilities ▫Sensitivity Training for our Members ▫Public Outreach at VITA Sites Persons with Disabilities are a year-round focus ▫Over 5 years, 10% of our customers are Persons with Disabilities ▫Research shows 83% of Persons with Disabilities never filed for a tax credit Connect Taxpayers with Resources ▫Free tax preparation ▫Screening for Public Benefits Eligibility ▫Awareness of Drug Assistance Programs ▫Housing Programs & Education

38 Asset Poverty 23% of Americans (18% of Nebraskans) live in asset poverty 14% of Americans (12% of Nebraskans) live in extreme asset poverty = ZERO assets Accessed from:

39 Asset-Poverty in Persons with Disabilities Unemployment rate: 17% in persons with disabilities ▫versus 9% of general population. Income gap of $22, 600. 30% are unbanked. 60,000 persons with disabilities living in Douglas County.

40 Our Asset Definition The Omaha EITC Coalition understands asset development to be a universal process whereby people of all income levels aspire to accumulate, maintain and preserve economic resources to build lasting wealth and participate fully in the community as empowered and educated owners with increased financial knowledge and capability, access to credit, savings and investments

41 Persons with Disabilities Campaign What we’ve learned: Service providers overwhelmed with caseloads and attending to basic needs. ▫Asset-building not always on their radar. Fear of losing federal benefits with finding work or declaring taxes. Lack of service coordination of financial services.



44 Access Nebraska




48 Every penny counts










58 Campaign-Action Steps Improved Volunteer Training on Disability Issues Incorporated outreach activities year-round Increase VITA sites in disability agencies Formalized Forward Alliance Committee, developing a more intentional relationship with NDI, and expanding membership in Forward Alliance

59 You: A Solution Refer Your Clients! ▫Who you gonna call?: 2-1-1 Refer Volunteers Join the Coalition and/or Forward Alliance Help plan an Asset Summit

60 At Your Service Ed Leahy Director Omaha EITC Coalition 3605 Q St Omaha, NE 68107 C: (402) 250-9781 O: (402) 546-1013, ext. 6210 F: (402) 734-8887 Ginny Powell Customer Connect Manager Goodwill Industries 4805 N 72 nd Street Omaha, NE 68134 O: 402-231-1939

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