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Rowan No. 1 in state for August in Work First program

By Kathy Chaffin
kchaffin@salisburypost.com
Rowan County has one of the highest participation rates in the state when it comes to the Work First program.
Nancy Brandt, service support program administrator for the Rowan Department of Social Services, said Tuesday the county had an 81.48 percent all-families participation rate for the month of August.
“That is spectacular,” she said. “We were the No. 1 county in the state this month because of that.”
Overall, Brandt said Rowan is one of the few counties in the state that regularly meets the required 50 percent all-families participation rate for the program ó which provides short-term training and other services to parents on public assistance to help them become employed and self-sufficient.
Though there are no significant changes in the county’s proposed Work First Plan for 2009-2011, Brandt advised the Rowan Board of Social Services of state policy changes in the program at its September meeting Tuesday night. Board members approved the plan subject to the addition of comments submitted in the public review period, which ends Friday at 5 p.m.
Social Services Director Sandra Wilkes said the plan will be presented to Rowan County commissioners at their Oct. 20 meeting for approval. Once it is approved, the plan will be submitted to the N.C. Division of Social Services for review.
All county plans become part of the N.C. Work First Plan.
Tuesday night’s meeting was the first one to be recorded so board members and David Boling, the county’s IT director, and Webmaster John Shaver could review it as a test run for televising future meetings on Channel 16, the Salisbury government channel.
Wilkes thanked Boling and Shaver for setting up the equipment, including two microphones on both sides of the room, early Tuesday afternoon and arriving an hour before the 6 p.m. meeting to make sure everything was ready to go.
Boling said he would send DVDs of the meeting to Wilkes to give to board members for review.
Vice Chairman Carl Ford, filling in as chairman in the absence of Dr. Nilous Avery, joked, “We may want to give them for Christmas presents.”
Also at Tuesday’s meeting, Wilkes reported that 13 general contractors are expected to submit bids on the addition and renovation to the Rowan County Health Complex to accommodate the Department of Social Services. “We think this is a very good sign there will be some healthy competition,” she said.
Wilkes said she had been told that a project of this magnitude would usually only attract six to seven bids.
The base bid consists of renovating the existing 19,353 square feet and construction of a 27,065-square-foot addition.
Wilkes said a groundbreaking ceremony will be held some time in November.

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