Welfare Reform First Took Hold

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Detractors from the program point to the fact that Philly is affected by the plight of the national economy of late and the lack of available jobs. "Over the last 25 years, Philadelphia has lost about an average of 10,000 jobs a year. "The lack of training and good solid work experience is probably the biggest obstacle that discourages many businesses from hiring welfare recipients," explained Andrus. "We're working as a liaison between business and training organizations like the Private Industry Council which is seeing that people have the skills they'll need for the good jobs." (Plan, 1998) The welfare to work program for the city of Philadelphia came with a 455 million price tag and it was aimed at drastic cuts in the first two years. The first stage of the program called for the movement from welfare to work for more than 15,000 welfare recipients in the city. "

City officials described the 10-point plan, known as Greater Philadelphia Works, as a possible model for other big cities with large numbers of poor people facing the brunt of federal and state welfare reforms in coming years.

Philadelphia has a total of 65,000 families on public assistance. About 38,000 city welfare recipients, many of them single mothers, must be working at least 20 hours a they will lose their benefits. "

The welfare to work program was funded by three entities, the state, the city and the nation. The funding not only covered the nuts and bolts of the program but it also covered public relations, promotional budgets, and regional placement centers for those who would transition from welfare to work. One of the things the program did to tempt employers to hire welfare recipients is to offer wage subsidies to those who hired people off of welfare. (Meet, 1999) Volunteers in North Philly handed out thousands of leaflets letting people know if they did not meet with caseworkers and do what was required they would lose their benefits.

The program has been in affect for five years and as the first welfare to work participants roll off the roles there are thousands who are expected to be self sufficient from this point forward.

STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM

The welfare reform act in Philadelphia has been in place for more than five years. The thousands of recipients who were told to comply came onto the program just as the economy took a downward turn. Those who were first up to bat have reached the five-year mark and many others are coming up on it next year and the year after. While the program has promised to move people off of the welfare roles and into to workforce the full impact of welfare reform in Philadelphia has yet to be measured. While there have been many studies conducted to convince the public iof the plan's success potential. Before the plan was adopted studies concluded it was time for reform so that the financial burden of the system could be reduced. The five-year mark has passed and there are still many impoverished areas of Philadelphia. This study will attempt to determine what the impact of welfare reform has been on those areas. The study will focus on the areas of About two years after beginning operations, WtW programs were approaching their planned enrollment levels. By April 2001, three of the 11 study grantees had reached or exceeded their planned goals for participation -- West Virginia-HRDF, Philadelphia-TWC, and Chicago. Two…