Contact: Lee Ann Brackett, Vice President Al Gore's Office, 202-456-2816
Large Events: May 29, 1997 / September 3, 1997 / May 19, 1998
Background: Finding a job is the first hurdle for many welfare recipients, keeping that job is the next. On May 20th, 1997, President Clinton and Eli Segal announced the creation of the Welfare to Work Partnership, a non-partisan coalition of 100 corporations who have committed to hiring welfare recipients. On May 29th, 1997, Vice President Al Gore announced the kick off of a coalition of civic groups who pledged to support the newly hired and to explore ways that organizations could most effectively aide Welfare to Work Initiatives. The Welfare to Work Coalition to Sustain Success was born.
Studies of welfare dynamics and employment retention consistently indicate that a high proportion of welfare recipients who become employed lose their jobs and return to public assistance, often within a few months. Two studies that looked at the experience of participants in State sponsored welfare to work programs found fairly high levels of initial job loss. One study (1) found that the majority of welfare recipients who participated and obtained employment had lost their first job within six months. Over 70 percent had lost their first job at the end of 12 months. Another study found that approximately 60 percent of participants were no longer employed at their initial job after 12 to 16 months. A study (2) that examined data from a national longitudinal survey indicated that the probability of returning to welfare within the first year off the rolls was about 40 percent for those who left to enter the labor force. While people lose their jobs for a variety of reasons -- individual or family health, loss of childcare, transportation problems, and lack of adequate training -- some programs had radically improved job retention. These studies emphasize the need to coordinate similar welfare to work efforts between organizations, community development boards and the private sector. The Welfare to Work Coalition was developed to highlight the importance of mentoring and support programs as part of welfare to work and to bridge together various players working towards the same goals to effectively use limited resources and aid America's working families.
Who's In the Coalition?
Vice President Gore's Welfare-to-Work Coalition is comprised of national civic, service, and faith-based organizations committed to helping families move from welfare to work and succeed on the job. Many Coalition Members have experience in supporting welfare recipients as they transition into jobs. The Coalition aims to link these organizations with private sector efforts to hire former recipients, and with other organizations to learn from best practices and share innovative models from across the country.
Goals of the Coalition
Working with state and local agencies, Coalition Members provide support services that welfare recipients and new workers need most to get and keep their jobs. Support services include mentoring, counseling, and training. By building on the strengths of its volunteer Member organizations, the Coalition ensures that programs and services are tailored to the unique needs of local communities. Goals include:
Coordinate civic, service and faith-based organizational efforts at a national level, encouraging chapters to participate in local welfare-to-work programs.
Showcase successful mentoring and training programs around the nation.
Identify ways organizations can participate in welfare-to-work programs, keeping Members informed of the latest federal policy and program developments.
Work with The Welfare-to-Work Partnership and other groups to involve businesses in welfare-to-work programs nationwide.