Refugee Assistance and Immigration Services (RAIS), a program of Catholic Social Services, is a current State of Alaska TANF contractor for ORR-eligible populations. Based out of Anchorage, RAIS operates as the only Refugee Assistance Program in the entire state. RAIS is currently administered by the State Refugee Coordinator and have identified an increased need for ORR/TANF services, primarily for ESL services and Job Readiness services in Wasilla, Alaska, located about an hour north of Anchorage. We propose to expand our current WF TANF services by opening a second office in the Wasilla/Mat Su Valley to better serve the predominately ORR/TANF-eligible immigrants from the former Soviet Union who have settled in this area due to family ties. These families are typically highly educated, highly skilled, and easily employable but face several on-going pre-employment challenges that our RAIS WF TC proposal will address.
In addition to increasing Employment Services for refugees living in the Mat-Su Valley area, we plan to improve TANF coordination across the state of Alaska by completing a statewide Needs Assessment Plan in cooperation with University of Alaska Anchorage (UAA) Psychology Department. Finally, we propose improving data quality and analysis across the State TANF system and ORR reporting. We intend to use the Alaska Needs Assessment Plan and improved data quality and analysis strategies to advance both our in-person and remote WF TC ORR-eligible service delivery statewide; in the process of implementing same, we will increase our existing coordination and collaboration with our State TANF office.