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Jason A. Turner

Jason A. Turner is the Commissioner of New York City's Human Resources Administration.  As Commissioner, he is the chief executive officer of the nation's largest cash assistance and Medicaid system, with a budget of over five billion dollars and 18,000 employees. 

New York under Mayor Giuliani is notable for successfully providing work opportunities on a large scale for those receiving cash assistance benefits.  Every day tens of thousands of New Yorkers in need of temporary assistance contribute to their communities through work, helping to keep the city clean, improving the parks, helping out in hospitals, and performing countless other tasks which improve the lives of residents and give valuable work experience to those just getting started. 

In his 1998 State of the City Address, the Mayor outlined several initiatives for his second term, which Turner is charged with implementing.  Some of these include: 

  • Moving welfare from a cash distribution system to a work opportunity system in which benefits are received in exchange for work performed, with appropriate work supports available such as childcare and medical assistance.  In the future, applying for cash assistance will be the same as applying for a job, and welfare offices will become job centers.
  • Introducing a system of work opportunities for individuals of all capabilities and circumstances, so that every adult can contribute to their community while improving their work skills and employability.
  • Using performance-based funding allocations to improve the effectiveness of the work opportunity systems so as to achieve the above objectives.
Prior to his appointment by the Mayor, Mr. Turner was the Executive Director of the Center for Self-Sufficiency in Milwaukee. 

From 1993 to 1997, Mr. Turner was a member of the Administration of Wisconsin Governor Tommy Thompson.  He began by managing the statewide JOBS program, and later was called upon by the Governor to direct the planning effort to develop an alternative to AFDC.  Mr. Turner's planning effort resulted in the program called "Wisconsin Works," or W2, which went into effect in September of 1997. 

Between 1989 and 1993, Mr. Turner was the director of the federal AFDC and JOBS programs at the Department of Health and Human Services in Washington.  During his tenure in the Bush Administration, Mr. Turner helped develop the federal regulations governing the JOBS program, where he oriented the program to facilitate early employment.

Before joining the Bush Administration, Mr. Turner was a program manager at the federal department of Housing and Urban Development. 

Mr. Turner is a graduate of Columbia University in New York.  He is married with four children.


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