You can lead a horse to water but, if you don’t teach him to read, he won’t know its poison. This is exactly how the current welfare programs in the United States are run. The current Welfare Reform is failing due to Political indulgence in statistics, focusing on the percentage of individuals attaining employment instead of the quality of employee and employment. In order to be successful Welfare Reform must contain vocational education with proper job placement and fair sanctions on recipients.
The numbers game has become a powerful tool for politicians at every level. If the President of the United States stands before the country and declares, “In this quarter, the number of unemployed Americans dropped from 8% to only 6%”, he is lauded over for the difference he is making in the economy. What the President would not tell the public is that 1% of those individuals stopped working the program entirely. The other 1% was placed back on an unemployment program two to three months later. Simply placing an unskilled worker in any full time position that opens up is not a recipe for long term success. Temporary numbers help to boost short term approval ratings for politicians in office but do little for the citizens fighting day in and day out to provide for their families.
The largest dispute in terms of Welfare-To-Work (WTW) programs is between using Human Capital Development (HDC) and Labor Force Attachment (LFA). HDC focuses on investing time and money to educate individuals on a specific skill such as vocational training for mechanics. The theory of HDC is that quality employees will most likely attain and sustain better employment over the long term. According to Kim (2012),” the Labor Force Attachment (LFA) assumes that the (nonworking) poor can best build work habits and skills and advance their positions in the labor market by starting to work at any initial job, including low paying and unstable jobs.” (p.130)
Greenberg and Robins’ (2011) research demonstrates, several studies were conducted between 1983 and 1998 to determine if the Welfare-To-Work programs were making progress in returning the unemployed to work and the longevity of the employment. All results did show a steady, if small, inclination of progress throughout the decades. Several reasons for WTW program stagnation is due to a steep learning curve of WTW administrators to run their programs, the WTW sites’ placement (some welfare sights are placed in districts where jobs are more fruitful than others), and the increase in use of WTW programs significantly saturated the program and the results of unemployment numbers. Despite all of the setbacks in unemployment numbers, analysis concluded more HDC run programs were able to hold better jobs for longer durations than LFA run programs (p. 911-919). Greenberg’s research was conducted from 76 experimental WTW programs throughout the US. With feedback such as this it is hard to retort that HDC methods aren’t worth...