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March 1, 1999

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Let me be clear -- government can assert the core values of work, responsibility and self-sufficiency, but ultimately, it is the private sector, both employers and community organizations, who must do the hardest work. That is why a partnership between businesses, community organizations, and the public sector is so crucial. The challenge we face as we approach the 21st Century is ensuring that we reform welfare in a way that promotes opportunity coupled with responsibility, pride, coupled with hope.

Vice President Al Gore
March 1, 1999

Today, Vice President Al Gore will announce the results of a new survey showing that businesses participating in the Welfare-To-Work Partnership have now hired more than 410,000 welfare recipients, and the federal government has hired 10,000 former welfare recipients.

A Commitment To Welfare Reform And Job Placement. The Clinton-Gore Administration has made welfare reform one of its top priorities. The Administration encouraged the business community to hire from the welfare rolls, launching the Welfare-to-Work Partnership, an independent organization made up of employer business partners that have made a commitment to hire and retain former welfare recipients. In its first year, the Partnership grew to 5,000 companies and these companies hired 135,000 welfare recipients in 1997. In May 1998, the President challenged the Partnership to double both the number of business partners and the number of individuals hired. Today, the Partnership has exceeded both of these goals, with more than 10,000 business members who have hired more than 410,000 welfare recipients.

Moving People Off The Welfare Rolls And Onto Payrolls. Today, an independent survey being released by Worthlin Worldwide shows that:

  • The 10,000 companies that comprise the Welfare-To-Work Partnership have now hired more than 410,000 former welfare recipients, more than meeting the President's challenge;
  • There is a direct correlation between establishing formal mentoring programs and the promotion of former welfare recipients;
  • Companies who are partnering with community organizations to develop mentoring programs have the strongest record of promoting welfare recipients.

Building On A Record Of Success. The Vice President will also announce that the federal government is leading by example and has hired more than 10,000 former welfare recipients since March 1997. The Administration will continue to fight for initiatives identified by employers as important to assisting employees hired off the welfare rolls to succeed in the workforce, including, initiatives to expand child care for working families and provide grants to communities to develop innovative transportation solutions for those moving from welfare to work and other low income workers. Today's announcement builds on the Clinton-Gore Administration's record of success in welfare reform:

  • Welfare caseloads are at their lowest level in 30 years and welfare rolls have fallen by nearly half since the President and Vice President took office from 14.1 million to just below 8 million;
  • Recent information released by the Department of Health and Human Services also shows that the percentage of welfare recipients working has tripled since 1992, that an estimated 1.5 million people who were on welfare in 1997 were working in 1998, and that all states met the first overall work participation rates required under the welfare reform law.

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