public assistance | Michigan Radio
WUOMFM

public assistance

An image of the former MDHHS public assistance application beside the new, shorter version.
Michael Brennan

Filling out applications for government assistance programs, like Medicaid or food stamps, can be a lengthy and confusing process. 

In Michigan, it used to involve filling out a 42-page form that, among other highly-specific questions, asked applicants to give the exact dates their children were conceived.

But thanks to the work of Michael Brennan and his team at the Detroit design firm Civilla, the application has gotten a user-friendly overhaul.

Dustin Dwyer

 Today, on State of Opportunity, I report on a unique program that started more than a decade ago at Cascade Engineering in Grand Rapids. The initial idea was to help lift people out of poverty with the promise of a stable job.

Executives noticed the company had high turnover rates for entry-level job positions, and many of the people in these entry-level jobs were cycling on and off of state assistance. The goal was to fix the turnover problem and end the cycle of dependence at the same time.