Note: This report was downloaded from the Internet Archive on June 26, 2003.
Vice President Gore's June 1997 Report on Federal Welfare-to-Work Commitments
A Report to President Bill Clinton by Vice President Al Gore
In 1992, you made a commitment to end welfare as we know it. During our first term in office, we undertook an unprecedented effort to make good on that promise. As a result, 2.8 million people left the welfare rolls between 1993 and 1997.
This effort was strengthened by enactment of the welfare reform legislation during the summer of 1996. But, as you have made clear, welfare reform didn?t end there. For reform to take hold, we must move people not just off the welfare rolls, but also into the workforce. That?s why we?ve worked so closely with private sector leaders to advance reform. They can give welfare recipients the thing they most need?a job. And they are responding with jobs, training, and mentoring programs.
All employers, including the federal government, have a role to play. On March 8, 1997, you asked me to lead the effort to have the federal government do its fair share in moving people from welfare to work. Our goal and our responsibility is to lead by example. I am pleased to report that your Administration is up to that challenge. In the pages that follow, you will see plans from your Cabinet members and other senior managers to hire at least 10,000 welfare recipients over the next four years.
Based in part on the experience of moving 2.8 million people off the welfare rolls in the last four years, we know that to succeed our plan must have these four elements: leadership commitment, recruitment strategies, retention strategies, and the means to leverage our commitment with our partners in the public and private sectors.
Each department and agency hiring plan is highlighted by a visible personal commitment from the agency head. They are demonstrating their leadership in a variety of innovative ways. I have included a few examples to represent the range of actions they are undertaking. Energy Secretary Federico Peņa, for instance, is holding a one-day workshop of the Energy Department?s managers. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Donna Shalala not only plans to hire 300 recipients, but is also encouraging a volunteer effort among HHS employees to support recently hired welfare recipients. Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Jesse Brown is promoting support for the initiative among employees through electronic messages, memoranda, and employee magazine articles. And Jim King, Director of the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), has written a letter to his employees asking for their help?through personal contacts such as volunteer efforts, religious organizations, and local community groups?in identifying potential welfare recipient hires.
The leaders of small agencies are doing their share too. For example, the U.S. Information Agency plans to hire up to 20 recipients; the Securities and Exchange Commission plans to hire 10; and your own staff organization, the Executive Office of the President, will hire six.
Agency leaders are also involving unions by working with their agency partnership councils and empowering field managers to hire, develop programs that work, and get involved in local efforts to help people move from welfare to work. Once hiring begins, most plan to visit workers in field offices to see firsthand how the program is working. Attorney General Janet Reno, for example, is planning recognition ceremonies and awards for managers who demonstrate exceptional success in hiring welfare recipients.
Federal agencies are taking advantage of high-tech options to help people find out about jobs. They are using OPM?s Web site for all federal jobs (http://www. usajobs. opm. gov) to list positions. But they also recognize the importance of personal connection. In more than 100 cities, local federal managers are mobilizing federal hiring through Federal Executive Boards and Associations. These interagency organizations will ensure that local nonprofits and social service agencies are aware of federal jobs and that managers know where and how to reach eligible candidates.
Agencies will target their recruitment efforts by sending job announcements to social service offices, private industry councils, and one-stop career centers. The jobs they recruit for will be a mix of permanent and temporary, and will be filled using the same rules and benefits that govern other federal jobs. All hiring will be based on merit, ensuring that the rights of displaced federal workers are protected. Veterans? preference will apply, as it does to all other hiring.
The jobs are varied. Commerce Secretary Bill Daley expects to hire 4,000 recipients for temporary jobs for the Year 2000 Decennial Census. Other agencies expect to use the Worker Trainee Program. Worker trainees will receive about $13,500 per year, while learning marketable skills that can lead to a career position. Agencies may also choose to exercise a combination of hiring options for people with disabilities, students, and veterans.
Most importantly, agency heads in Washington are working hard to make sure that red tape doesn?t interfere with hiring. I have encouraged them to lift internal agency employment ceilings for this program so that field managers with available funds can hire good candidates without pre-approval.
Good training and mentoring, affordable child care, and adequate transportation are essential to ensuring success. As part of this effort, we are addressing these issues, not just for welfare recipients, but for all low-income workers.
The General Services Administration (GSA) is exploring ways to provide access to affordable child care for all low-income federal workers, such as linking them with 600 community-based child care resource and referral networks. These networks will be available to counsel, support, and assist employees with their child care needs. For those who would like to take advantage of federal child care, GSA is looking at options for providing scholarships and sliding fee scales to make child care tuition affordable.
Agencies such as the Office of Personnel Management, the Department of Transportation, and the Environmental Protection Agency provide transportation subsidies in most locations across the country. The Department of Labor has just reached a transportation subsidy agreement with its unions, and others are examining ways to provide subsidies within current budgets.
Agencies are exploring all facets of training necessary to ensure success?not only job skills for former recipients, but interpersonal communication skills and training for their supervisors. At the White House, supervisors will participate in coaching sessions and receive training about how best to ensure success. The Department of Energy will partner with the Phelps Career Center to provide teachers, equipment, hot lunches, and child care.
The Department of Labor has created a free resource guide and training packages for those hiring welfare recipients and has offered to provide technical assistance in the field. This training was developed by studying the best practices of the most successful welfare-to-work programs in the country. All of this information is available on their Web site (http://www. doleta. gov).
Orientation programs are also important. At the State Department, those hired will receive career counseling and assistance and will take computerized tests to assess their skills and competencies. Some agencies, such as the Social Security Administration, are establishing mentoring programs for new employees and individualized training plans based on their needs. Agencies are renegotiating agreements with their employee assistance providers to ensure that new employees have a range of services available from financial counseling to interpersonal skills.
Leveraging the Federal Commitment With Grantees, Contractors, and Nonprofit Organizations
Agency heads are planning to leverage their own commitment by encouraging contractors and grantees to hire welfare recipients. Each agency is exploring its mission to determine how it can best encourage the initiative to take hold. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Andrew Cuomo is reviewing options for providing incentives to grantees. Secretary of Defense Bill Cohen has written to contractors, encouraging them to hire welfare recipients. Transportation Secretary Rodney Slater will be leading an effort to encourage transportation companies to follow the lead of United Parcel Service and United Airlines in moving people from welfare to work. The Small Business Administration is focusing efforts on encouraging the development and success of women-owned businesses.
Some agencies are using partnerships with nonprofit organizations and civic groups to assist those looking for work or newly hired. Other agencies are providing resources to the federal hiring community, such as the HHS home page (http://www. dhhs. gov).
Throughout the federal government, managers are using their creativity and innovation to support your goal of ending welfare as we know it. In the pages that follow, you will find the specific commitments made by the members of our team. These plans incorporate the necessary four elements, and are tailored to meet each agency?s particular needs and capabilities.
We have established a single-point-of-contact Web site (http://w2w. fed. gov) for anyone seeking more information about the federal government?s role in moving people from welfare to work.
You set a goal of moving an additional two million people off the welfare rolls in the next four years. Following through on that pledge is one of the most important tasks we face as a nation. As we continue to work with our partners in the private sector, we have developed an aggressive plan for the federal government to do its fair share, and I am proud to present you with this report.
Department of Agriculture 1
Department of Commerce 3
Department of Defense 5
Department of Education 7
Department of Energy 9
Department of Health and Human Services 11
Department of Housing and Urban Development 13
Department of the Interior 15
Department of Justice 17
Department of Labor 19
Department of State 21
Department of Transportation 23
Department of the Treasury 25
Department of Veterans Affairs 27
Environmental Protection Agency 29
Federal Emergency Management Agency 31
General Services Administration 33
National Aeronautics and Space Administration 35
Office of Personnel Management 37
Small Business Administration 39
Social Security Administration 41
Department of Agriculture
Secretary Daniel Glickman
USDA is committed to hiring and retaining welfare recipients, including food stamp participants, into its workforce. The Department will hire approximately 100 welfare recipients this fiscal year and 275 over the next three fiscal years. USDA has a very extensive field structure of 2,300 locations which will be utilized for this initiative, including outreach efforts to welfare recipients. USDA has always been involved in grassroots efforts, working within communities, states, and organizations?a tradition on which USDA will build to support this initiative.
The employment opportunities USDA will provide include animal health aides, insect controllers, physical science aides, archaeological aides, soil conservation aides, and forestry aides. These positions will be filled at the entry level. In some cases, USDA will hire welfare recipients to work in programs that will assist in delivering services to low-income Americans.
The federal Worker Trainee Program is aimed at unskilled workers to be hired at GS-1 or WG-1/2 grade levels. The individuals recruited through this program will have the opportunity to learn marketable skills, develop good work habits, and receive formal and on-the-job training. USDA will expand the use of this program as the major vehicle for hiring and training welfare recipients. We will also ensure that employees are given the support needed to succeed in a work environment through mentoring programs and special training for supervisors.
USDA will encourage its contractors, grantees, and cooperators to contribute to this initiative by actively seeking welfare recipients for entry- level or other appropriate positions. For example, the Food and Consumer Service will be awarding a $4 million contract to conduct store visits to strengthen the integrity of the Food Stamp Program and will encourage the winning contractor to hire welfare recipients for this program. The Natural Resources Conservation Service will encourage contractors and cooperators to work with local welfare or social service offices to give priority consideration to welfare recipients.
Even though USDA will have to downsize by approximately 10,000 staff years by 2002, which will require reductions-in-force in three agencies, we are committed to the President?s initiative. Our plan is a comprehensive approach that reflects the diversity of our programs and services.
Department of Commerce
Secretary William Daley
As the Secretary of Commerce, I have expressed my personal commitment to the hiring of welfare recipients within the Department. The 2000 decennial census presents a significant potential opportunity to hire welfare recipients. We get the best census when census takers work in their own neighborhoods. They know their neighbors better than the Census Bureau or any other government agency. In many neighborhoods, welfare recipients will be a primary source of job candidates.
The decennial census poses unique recruitment and hiring challenges. We have to build a large army of workers to complete a large task in a short period of time. The Census Bureau will actively recruit welfare recipients as part of its broad pool of census job candidates, as it has in each previous census. Our plan for Census 2000 will require that we hire about 280,000 workers to perform such census-taking tasks as enumeration of the population and address verification. We believe that our goal of hiring 4,000 welfare recipients during the period 1998-99 is a reasonable one. While these jobs will be temporary, we believe census employment will provide effective training and work skills that can be a valuable first step toward entering the workforce.
In addition to the temporary census hires, the Department has a goal of hiring another 180 welfare recipients to perform a range of functions across its different bureaus and agencies. While the Department continues to downsize, it is not in a position to hire a large number of new permanent employees. However, we do have plans that should help a significant number of welfare recipients make the transition from welfare to work.
Our outreach efforts to locate potential employees involve widespread advertising of job opportunities and direct contact with state and local welfare and social service organizations, including those serving veterans and persons with disabilities. We are also encouraging contractors to hire welfare recipients.
Managers, supervisors, and human resource specialists will work together to identify training needs and other concerns of new employees to help ensure retention. We recognize that transportation and child care may be significant concerns for some new employees, and we will work with state and local governments and use existing programs, wherever possible, to address these concerns.
Department of Defense
Secretary William Cohen
The Department of Defense (DoD) is taking an active role in helping the Administration ?end welfare as we know it.? Through its Welfare-to-Work Program, DoD will build on the skills developed through years of managing such programs as Troops to Teachers, Junior ROTC, and Partnership in Education.
Numbers of Positions
Types of Positions
Recruitment, Hiring, Support, and Marketing
Department of Education
Secretary Richard Riley
The Department of Education (ED) has developed a twofold strategy to help welfare recipients transition into the workplace.
ED Will Recruit, Hire, and Retain Welfare Recipients
On April 8, l997, ED initiated a recruitment program for welfare recipients with the goal of filling, within one year, at least 21 permanent positions that match the recruits? skills and education. Emphasis will be placed on hiring entry-level workers through the Department?s Worker Trainee Program, as well as recruiting qualified welfare recipients for vacancies above the entry level. ED will work aggressively with local social service and welfare offices, nonprofit organizations, and other community-based organizations to recruit welfare recipients, to distribute notices of vacancies widely within these organizations, and to work with them on a continuous basis to match job opportunities with available candidates.
A number of strategies will be utilized to support these new employees, including:
? Providing special orientation for welfare-to-work employees that addresses transitional issues?time and attendance, work ethic, time management, maintaining contacts with mentors, and making employee assistance programs accessible to this group.
? Establishing a mentoring program that matches welfare recipients with current employees within the Department.
? Providing training for supervisors and mentors.
? Working closely with managers and social service and welfare offices
to assess the skill levels of welfare recipients and develop Individual Development
Plans that include education and training opportunities to enhance and expand
In addition, ED will work rigorously to extend its family-friendly
policies and programs to this group by providing advice and assistance on
child care and alternative work schedules. We will notify employees of their
potential eligibility for the Earned Income Tax Credit and explore the possibility
of paying transit subsidies for low-income employees. The Department will
work with the Labor Management Partnership Council to achieve these objectives.
The Department will meet with education associations, colleges and universities, local education agencies, community-based nonprofit organizations, religious organizations, and unions (NEA, AFT) to find creative ways to meet the President?s challenge to hire welfare recipients. We will also work with education groups through our regional offices to develop more hiring strategies.
In addition to coordinating its welfare-to-work efforts with the
Department of Health and Human Services and the National Performance Review,
the Department will focus its research authority, through its research institutes,
on educational strategies that could best help welfare recipients obtain
work and receive basic skills training. Joining current governmentwide initiatives
to use the grant and contracting process to open up job availability in support
of the welfare-to-work effort, the Department will use nonbinding guidance
to encourage its grantees and contractors to hire welfare recipients.
Secretary Federico Peņa
Train One, Gain One
? DOE will partner with Phelps Career Center and private contractor to help welfare recipients become prepared and succeed in a ?high-tech? workforce.
? Private contractor will provide funds for an on-site child care
serv-ice while parents are enrolled in either the academic curriculum or
the seven career training areas offered by Phelps Career Center.
? Remove internal hiring barriers by lifting ceiling restrictions and hiring moratorium requirements in support of the program.
? Train supervisors and welfare recipients through coaching, mentoring, and classroom training to enhance employability and productivity.
? Integrate resources for program development and implementation
by teaming managers with experts in employee assistance, training and development,
staffing, recruitment, family-friendly programs, and labor relations; and
by focusing team efforts on providing welfare hires with realistic opportunities
? The Department will encourage voluntary participation?no new regulations, contract clauses, or burdensome reporting requirements.
? Secretary Peņa will write personally to the CEO of each parent
corporation of DOE?s major facilities contractors; to the president of each
DOE major facilities contractor, and to heads of contracting activities to
elicit participation. The Department?s Senior Procurement Executive will
instruct all procurement directors to promote the program and issue a series
of awards to those contractors that have shown initiative in hiring.
Health and Human Services
Secretary Donna Shalala
As the agency responsible for many key welfare programs, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is committed to the success of the President?s initiative to hire welfare recipients into federal jobs. As a show of that commitment, I have communicated to all HHS agency heads the Department?s special role in this undertaking and how we can shape recruiting and outreach strategies by building on our long-standing partnerships with state agencies and community organizations that serve welfare recipients.
The Department?s welfare-to-work plan complements and reaffirms my ongoing strategy for improving the quality of worklife at HHS. Training and family-friendly workplace programs developed in response to that initiative will benefit former welfare recipients. Similarly, creative solutions to issues such as child care that we develop in response to welfare to work will be offered to all of our employees who need them.
Our agencies have identified potential job opportunities throughout the country. Our hiring plan has been developed in cooperation with our national unions. Highlights include:
? A collaborative recruiting and outreach strategy based on partnerships at the federal, state, and local levels: We envision a close partnership between HHS, the National Performance Review, the Office of Personnel Management, the Office of Management and Budget, the General Services Administration, and other agencies whose missions support the welfare-to-work initiative in developing a workable strategy for the collection and dissemination of employment information between the federal government, state social service agencies, and community-based organizations that serve welfare recipients.
? An employee volunteer component: In conjunction with the President?s Summit for America?s Future, I have encouraged the many HHS employees involved in community service to consider volunteering for activities that help prepare individuals for the transition to the workplace, including skills training and tutoring.
? Workplace support systems designed to fully integrate former welfare recipients into our workforce: We
will focus on enhancing basic skills, helping balance work and family needs,
offering a full range of career development and career management services,
and developing peer support structures and networks (mentoring programs,
Secretary Andrew Cuomo
The Clinton Administration is serious about welfare reform, and HUD has made a serious commitment to help people move from welfare to work. To fulfill its core mission of revitalizing America?s communities, HUD plans to maintain funding for its successful programs, in addition to providing welfare recipients with an opportunity to succeed in the workplace while helping reduce the welfare rolls.
The Department?s Strategy
? Although HUD is downsizing from 10,400 current staff members to just 7,500 employees by the year 2000, we have pledged to hire and train 200 welfare recipients over the next four years.
? HUD?s recruitment and hiring strategies encourage managers and supervisors at the local level to bring job opportunities to the attention of offices and organizations who work with welfare recipients on a regular basis.
? We will develop staff through orientation, guidance, and training to ensure high job retention and success.
? A comprehensive, confidential employee assistance program will address personal, medical, behavioral, and substance abuse problems for employees and their family members.
? We will create continuous opportunities for new hires under this program by developing bridge and/or upward mobility positions to provide career paths by which workers can progress.
? We will provide information and guidance to each new hire on the
federal government?s policy regarding the Earned Income Tax Credit, fare
subsidy, and child care.
HUD recently announced a welfare-to-work demonstration project aimed at significantly increasing employment and income of public housing residents in seven cities across the country. The project, called Jobs-Plus, is a partnership between HUD, the Rockefeller Foundation, and the Manpower Demonstration Research Corporation, with additional financial support from the Surdna Foundation. Jobs-Plus will be launched in Baltimore, Chattanooga, Cleveland, Dayton, Los Angeles, St. Paul, and Seattle. Jobs-Plus will put in place, at one or two public housing developments in each city, intensive employment-focused programs, targeting every able-bodied, working-age welfare recipient.
HUD?s fiscal year 1998 budget includes $100 million to support the Administration?s goal to create 20 new Empowerment Zones (EZs) and 80 new Enterprise Communities (ECs) across the country, using tax incentives and other federal support. These EZs and ECs, designed to encourage job creation in high poverty areas where recipients live, have already leveraged over $2 billion in private resources.
Secretary Cuomo is committed to ensuring HUD?s continued creation of affordable housing and its endeavor to provide opportunities for steady employment to enable America?s poor to have an opportunity to live the American Dream.
Department of the Interior
Secretary Bruce Babbitt
The President?s welfare-to-work plan is an exciting chance to accelerate what progress we have made. Right now, the Department of the Interior is working with state, local, and tribal welfare groups by operating 185 Indian schools, running 12 Job Corps centers, recruiting over 7,500 seasonal workers nationwide each year, and participating in such programs as the Youth Conservation Corps and the D.C. Summer Youth Program. Under the President?s plan, Interior will help 325 heads of households move their families from welfare dependence to self-sufficiency over the next four years.
Can it work? Our record of success so far includes hundreds of field conservation work and interpretive educational projects in all our bureaus. These projects have been supplemented by participants in the Job Corps, Youth Conservation Corps, and D.C. Summer Youth Program, and have led to meaningful jobs, often right here at Interior. For example, a recent survey by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) shows that, of 118 students who completed the Job Corps Work Experience Program over the last five years, 39 work at FWS, 27 work at other federal agencies, and 17 returned to school for further training.
Interior?s mission to ?honor our trust responsibilities to tribes? has led us to help tribes enhance self-governance, education, economic opportunities, and quality of life for their members. Today, more than 90 percent of new hires at the Bureau of Indian Affairs are Native Americans who work on or near the reservations. Further, our tribal Adult and Bilingual Education programs have helped more than 10,000 Native Americans acquire basic literacy and other proficiencies toward the equivalent of secondary school certification.
Yet Interior?s Welfare-to-Work Plan goes further. It follows the lead set by our current programs, builds bridges to them, then concentrates on those Interior work priorities that offer the most opportunity for hiring welfare recipients. Interior?s plan encourages hiring into all types of positions and outlines a recruitment process for doing so. To initiate this effort, the plan identifies eight work categories and the associated skills needed for them, such as clerical, laborer, maintenance worker, custodian, teacher?s aide, cook, and dormitory and recreation assistants. Nine bureaus and offices with the most potential for initial hiring are identified in the plan, along with 68 specific city locations in 23 states and the District of Columbia.
The Department?s plan directs transition training in social skills, workplace skills, and employee assistance; as well as guidance to managers and supervisors about flexible hours, child care, and transportation subsidies. We encourage current employees to volunteer their time to organizations that may be able to assist us in this effort. We also ask our contractors to consider hiring welfare recipients when possible within the requirements of procurement laws and regulations. By building on the current programs that work well, and by focusing on the new efforts described in Interior?s Welfare-to-Work Plan, the Department of the Interior is beginning to open a new course toward self-determination.
Department of Justice
Attorney General Janet Reno
The Department will strive to place at least 450 welfare recipients in employment opportunities in Department of Justice positions throughout the United States. Contractors and grantees will also be encouraged to participate in hiring welfare recipients.
The Department of Justice is committed to providing placement assistance and job opportunities to welfare recipients. Department employees are already involved in many community outreach efforts, such as the pro bono and partners in education programs, which are directly related to working with the poor, elderly, and young members of our communities, including welfare recipients.
In addition to the other work opportunities developed through our plan, components will augment the hiring of welfare recipients through aggressive outreach programs to identify teen parents living at home who need money to stay in school. By providing these employment opportunities, it is our expectation that welfare recipients will acquire the basic skills to serve as the foundation for successful careers and make the transition from welfare to work.
Department of Labor
Secretary Alexis Herman
? Department of Labor managers have identified over 50 meaningful employment opportunities in fiscal year 1997, 70 in fiscal year 1998, and continuing support for this initiative in fiscal years 1999 and 2000.
? The Secretary of Labor has issued a memorandum to all managers and supervisors encouraging their active involvement and support in recruitment of welfare-to-work participants as part of their hiring efforts, including mentoring, job coaching, and identifying meaningful job opportunities.
? Working closely with state and local offices, Labor is identifying opportunities for nonpaid internships and mentoring work experiences to better equip participants for permanent job placement.
? We are linking with state and local service providers to target potential welfare hires, including Job Training and Partnership Act service providers, welfare offices, private industry councils, state employment services, and career fairs and conferences.
? The Department is providing former welfare recipients with a comprehensive and continuous developmental program on transitional skills needed for success. The prototype training package, consisting of 28 modules, will be made available on Labor?s Web site for use by other federal agencies.
? Expand our Employment and Training Administration programs to serve welfare recipients, including career assessment and counseling, job search assistance, job training, and One-Stop Centers.
? Maximizing existing Veterans? Employment and Training Service programs, in cooperation with the Department of Veterans Affairs, to provide vocational rehabilitation to disabled veterans who may be receiving welfare benefits.
? Conducting outreach activities via the Women?s Bureau to highlight successful welfare-to-work initiatives at the National Working Women?s Summit in June 1997 and cooperative agreement with the National Council of Negro Women.
? Continuing, on a quarterly basis, a successful clothing and accessory drive for Suited for Change, which provides clothing and developmental training to low-income women seeking employment.
? Maintaining our recently developed Web site to provide information to federal agencies and others on recruiting and hiring welfare recipients. The Web site address is http://www.doleta.gov/ ohrw2w.
? Distributing our newly published resource guide, Tapping a New Workforce: From Welfare to Work in the Federal Government, which provides federal agencies with answers to basic questions about hiring welfare recipients as well as assistance with their own recruitment and hiring of welfare recipients.
? Partnering with the Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Defense by providing direct training and/or train-the-trainer course curricula and modules for use in training and developing welfare-to-work recipients and managerial staff.
? Participating in federal consortia to provide regional assistance to Federal Executive Boards in recruiting and training welfare recipients, with Department Regional Administrators taking the lead in identifying resources within the employment and training community.
Department of State
Secretary Madeleine Albright
The Department of State offers employment opportunities to individuals from all walks of life, racial and ethnic origins, urban and rural regions, and diverse educational and economic backgrounds. The Department of State will support the President?s welfare-to-work initiative by hiring at least 55 welfare recipients per year through the year 2000 via: (1) the Worker Trainee Program, (2) the Student Employment Program, and (3) the appointment of individuals into existing Civil and Foreign Service positions when qualifications and other requirements are met. Skills training will be a key component to our program through our National Foreign Affairs Training Center.
The cornerstone of our welfare-to-work initiative will be our Worker Trainee Program. We will seek to replenish a small portion of our clerical and administrative support staff lost over the last three years. The Worker Trainee Program will be designed to offer promising individuals an opportunity to achieve sustained independence by learning basic job readiness, customer service, work skills, and good work habits that make for reliable employees.
Managers, supervisors, as well as employees in both the Civil and Foreign Service?at headquarters and field installations?will be asked to contribute by:
? Utilizing some portion of their vacancies to support a worker trainee or student.
? Expanding their outreach to state, local, and educational institutions; private and nonprofit community-based organizations; as well as other federal agencies and organizations.
? Partnering with those seeking job placements for individuals transitioning from welfare to work and career experience opportunities for students who meet the welfare and economic needs criteria.
? Participating in the recruitment process (e.g., job and interview fairs).
? Lending expertise to the training being provided by the Department as well as by other federal agencies.
? Providing ongoing support (e.g., mentoring) in helping these individuals achieve sustained independence.
Contractors providing services for the Department will be informed of the welfare reform law and the challenge by the President to federal agencies ?? as well as to private sector businesses and organizations ??to employ welfare recipients.
There is much to be done, and the Department is ready to meet that challenge.
Secretary Rodney Slater
As Secretary of Transportation, I take great pride in presenting the Department?s plan to hire and retain welfare recipients in its workforce.
The Department of Transportation (DOT) is committed to providing employment opportunities for approximately 200 well-qualified welfare recipients by the end of fiscal year 1998, and a total of 400 employment opportunities through the year 2000. These positions will be in a variety of occupations and locations all across the country. Most of these will be support positions, working with our professional transportation specialists whose responsibility is to ensure the safety of the traveling public.
DOT is committed to do its part not only in the employment of welfare recipients, but in providing an integrated support structure to ensure successful retention far beyond the initial hiring. The Department?s plan includes targeted recruitment; the preparation of managers and supervisors to work with these employees; providing these employees with up to a one-year ongoing organizational orientation; and providing counseling, mentoring, and other supportive services, such as child and elder care, transit subsidies, and work and family programs which include active flexible work schedule policies that strive to accommodate the needs of employees.
The plan recognizes that its success rests with managers and supervisors at the grassroots level working and partnering with local service organ-izations to bring these recipients into the Department; and that it is at that level where the efforts must take place to support and keep them employed. Through the exercise of creative and cooperative efforts, partnering, and individual dedication, motivation, and determination, the framework provides the means and demonstrates the Department?s commitment to hire and retain welfare recipients in its workforce??and, at the same time, assist other low-income DOT employees.
The Department recognizes that one of the biggest barriers faced by those moving from welfare rolls to payrolls is transportation. Only about 6 percent of welfare recipients own cars, and public transit often provides inadequate connections to jobs. Therefore, the Department is building on its successful Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act transit programs, such as Joblinks and Livable Communities, that use innovative approaches to helping people make the transition to the working world. In the National Economic Crossroads Transportation Efficiency Act (NEXTEA), we are proposing a six-year $600 million grant program to support flexible, innovative transportation alternatives to get people to work; training centers; and support services such as day care. NEXTEA also increases opportunities for states and localities to provide job training and hiring preference to welfare recipients and residents of Empowerment Zones and Enterprise Communities.
In a separate effort, DOT is encouraging private sector transportation employers to make a commitment to hire welfare recipients. In addition, the Department will partner with other federal agencies, states, educators, and the private sector through the Garrett A. Morgan Transportation and Technology Futures Program to make the younger generation aware of transportation career opportunities as they pursue their education.
Department of the Treasury
Secretary Robert Rubin
What We Hope to Do
Treasury will help move families off welfare through implementation of its Welfare-to-Work Plan. Through this plan, Treasury will:
? Use every available recruitment source and authority to provide employment opportunities for qualified welfare recipients. While we will encourage welfare recipients to apply for all vacancies for which they qualify, we anticipate the most success in recruiting for jobs that are normally filled at lower grades, such as seasonal and intermittent positions in the Internal Revenue Service. We are committed to a goal of at least 200 welfare recipient hires the first year and 205 the second.
? Identify key contacts throughout the Department to serve as liaisons with outreach organizations and to partner with state, local, or community-based organizations.
? Pursue new opportunities, such as encouraging Treasury contractors to hire welfare recipients.
? Use new technologies to distribute information on available jobs and provide easier access to local social service and employment agencies.
? Work to ensure that former welfare recipients perform well and keep their jobs by assigning a mentor; using training plans to identify developmental needs; and, when possible, providing flexible work schedules, subsidies for public transportation, and tuition assistance for child care.
What We Have Done
One of the Department?s top priorities is to bring low-income households and economically depressed areas into the economic mainstream. We are using our expertise in the areas of tax policy and finance to address the persistence of high levels of poverty and the associated social problems. In this endeavor, the Department and Administration have accomplished the following:
? The President signed into law a new Work Opportunity Tax Credit and permanently extended the low-income housing tax credit.
? Treasury launched new Presidential Awards for micro-enterprise development, which recognize innovative and outstanding programs that help empower low-income Americans. We reinvigorated the Community Reinvestment Act to encourage financial institutions to make loans to creditworthy borrowers in all communities. We launched the CDFI Fund to help create a nationwide network of community development financial institutions.
? The President expanded the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) to reward work over welfare. The Internal Revenue Service conducts an extensive marketing campaign to educate businesses and taxpayers about the EITC and Advance EITC.
? Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program volunteers offer free tax help to people who cannot afford professional assistance.
? The Administration proposed a new welfare-to-work tax credit and a jobs challenge program for the hardest-to-place welfare recipients. The Administration also proposed a new round of Empowerment Zones, a brownfields tax credit, and a tax credit for equity investments in community development financial institutions.
Department of Veterans Affairs
Secretary Jesse Brown
In response to President Clinton?s call for federal agencies to identify employment opportunities for persons on welfare, Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) managers have identified more than 400 potential employment opportunities for fiscal year 1997 at facilities across the nation. These opportunities are primarily in entry-level clerical, blue collar, and technical positions. We also anticipate approximately 400 potential employment opportunities for fiscal year 1998, and we will continue to play a major role in this critical initiative in fiscal years 1999 and 2000.
The President?s challenge offers VA the opportunity to link its primary mission of serving the nation?s veterans with the welfare-to-work initiative by focusing on veterans who are welfare recipients and their families. VA?s Compensated Work Therapy (CWT) and Vocational Rehabilitation & Counseling (VR&C) Programs are already successful in moving veterans from dependency to self-sufficiency by providing job training and vocational rehabilitation to veterans.
? In fiscal year 1996, CWT helped 2,900 veterans become self-sufficient and competitively employed.
? VA has identified 2,000 veterans who are receiving both some form
of welfare assistance and services under VR&C that prepare them to enter
the competitive job market.
? Establishes local welfare-to-work program coordinators.
? Provides guidance on recruitment, networking, employee development, and employee assistance, including child care and transit support.
? Permits VA facilities to restructure positions and use a wide variety of appointing authorities.
? Promotes the recruitment of graduates of the CWT and VR&C Programs.
? Promotes the hiring of welfare recipients by VA contractors and grantees.
? Encourages VA facilities to host state welfare recipients in training and work experience programs.
? Send a message to all VA leaders, managers, and front-line supervisors expressing his personal commitment to the program and his expectation that they will work with local community resources to develop opportunities to recruit and retrain welfare recipients.
? Issue messages about the program on earnings and leave statements and in the Secretary?s daily broadcast message, which is received at every facility in VA.
? Include articles about the welfare-to-work program implementation and its successes in VAnguard, VA?s official employee magazine.
Environmental Protection Agency
Administrator Carol Browner
The Environmental Protection Agency?s goal is to recruit, hire, and support 120 welfare recipients. In addition to placing these new employees in entry-level office and laboratory positions, EPA will explore opportunities to place welfare-to-work employees in the Agency?s community-based environmental protection efforts.
With 68 percent of its current workforce located around the United States in regional or field offices, EPA is uniquely prepared to place more than half of its welfare-to-work opportunities in cities outside Washington, D.C. EPA?s highly educated and specialized workforce also will offer these new employees special opportunities to ease their transition to work, including mentoring, technical assistance on the job, and other types of support. Existing EPA partnerships in communities across the country also provide the Agency with links to community organizations that can help in recruiting, training, and supporting welfare-to-work participants.
To further support these new employees, EPA plans to streamline hiring processes and train supervisors in mentoring and support skills to ensure the success of this initiative.
Federal Emergency Management Agency
Director James Witt
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has always been committed to providing immediate and effective assistance to communities and individuals affected by disaster. In furthering our commitment to communities, we strive to hire our temporary local disaster relief workers directly from the affected areas. In support of the President?s welfare-to-work initiative, we have now expanded that effort specifically to identify and recruit local welfare recipients, thus empowering these individuals to help themselves and their communities. It is our hope that by engaging in temporary, meaningful work, these individuals will acquire basic job skills which will serve as the foundation for future successful careers.
Our Agency?s Plan
Availability of Work
Recruitment and Hiring
Orientation and Training
General Services Administration
Acting Administrator Dave Barram
We will enthusiastically do our share in hiring welfare recipients and will make every effort to ensure their continued successful employment. The General Services Administration (GSA) has developed a flexible, decentralized Welfare-to-Work (W2W) hiring and retention plan, stressing intensive training and mentoring, enabling the best transition from welfare rolls to the GSA workplace. We expect our new workers to join us as we recreate our work culture. I will issue a memorandum asking for volunteers to be ?W2W Buddies.? These Buddies will undergo training to provide one-on-one support and guidance to W2W employees. We will call this our ?Buddy System.?
We will take advantage of existing federal, state, and private partnering, capitalizing on pre-existing successful programs and solutions whenever possible. We are aggressively targeting and funding W2W positions, encouraging local involvement, and preparing and encouraging GSA managers to support the Welfare-to-Work Program.
In addition to hiring and retaining welfare recipients in GSA, the
President has asked GSA to find ways to help Welfare-to-Work employees over
two critical hurdles: fare subsidies and child care. Federal agencies have
been advised that they may offer fare subsidies based on income level and
welfare status. It is up to each agency to decide how to use this important
aid to low-income employees. Even more important to Welfare-to-Work employees
will be affordable child care, since 90 percent of Temporary Assistance for
Needy Families welfare recipients are single mothers with young children.
Plans to assist low-income federal workers will take advantage of pre-existing
state and local child care providers, programs, and funding. The issues concerning
child care are difficult and complex. GSA has issued a separate report addressing
some of these problems.
GSA is already doing much to ensure that many who would not have jobs can find employment. GSA?s considerable contractual involvement with such groups as the National Industries for the Blind and the National Industries for the Severely Handicapped supports the intent of welfare reform by providing jobs for those who would not otherwise work.
GSA is working with others in the federal acquisition community to
find ways for contractors to voluntarily further the President?s goals, without
adding administrative burdens to the contracting process. Additionally, GSA
will consider ways to facilitate using the Cooperative Administrative Support
Units to encourage the hiring of welfare recipients.
Administrator Daniel Goldin
? Despite projected funding levels and significant downsizing, NASA has embraced the President?s welfare initiative and committed to hiring a number of welfare recipients and undertaking other initiatives to aid disadvantaged youth and adults, such as:
?? Utilizing local social services programs to enhance the employability of welfare recipients.
?? Hiring welfare recipients under apprenticeship certification programs utilizing existing partnerships.
?? Utilizing the position of chairman of a local Federal Executive Board (FEB) to task the FEB to partner welfare-to-work efforts.
? NASA will continue its commitment to the National Education Goals and strive to enhance our current outreach programs.
? NASA will encourage its contractors to hire and train welfare recipients.
? NASA will encourage employees to volunteer time as mentors to underprivileged
youth in support of continuing education and obtaining job skills.
? Vast educational programs advance the National Education Goals, expanding and enhancing the scientific and technological competence and motivation of students and educators, inspiring them to pursue their potential.
? The Astronaut Appearance Program has been inspirational in motivating students and adults to pursue career and educational goals, particularly in the fields of math and science.
? Space Grant Consortia leverage funds to promote science education, with many of the funded projects and activities targeting persons from underrepresented groups and containing mentoring or role-modeling components.
? The Summer High School Apprenticeship Program is an intensive science and engineering apprenticeship program designed to attract and increase underrepresented students? participation and success rates as professionals in the workplace.
? A partnership with the Prince George?s County Public Schools established ?The Government Connection,? a program that provides hands-on experience to high school seniors, including a mentoring program, job readiness training, seminars on adjusting to work, dressing for success, and job etiquette, as well as individual student training plans and goal setting.
? NASA field installations are proactive in establishing and participating in a spectrum of outreach programs such as: the Adopt-a-School Program, which includes mentoring and tutoring aspects; the LASER Program, in which NASA employees donate time as tutors, science fair judges, instructors, and consultants; and the Student Programs for Achievement in Careers and Education (SPACE) which targets disadvantaged students for entry-level clerical jobs to supplement family income and provide useful job skills.
? NASA?s support of alternative and part-time work schedules eases work and family life concerns.
Office of Personnel Management
Director James King
The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) has taken a lead role in providing guidance to all federal agencies regarding the welfare-to-work initiative. These efforts include:
? Leading an Interagency Advisory Group of Personnel Directors to resolve/coordinate ongoing welfare-to-work issues.
? Issuing employment guidance to agencies.
? Facilitating contacts with local welfare organizations and/or state employment services in the Washington, D.C., metro area and coordinating activities with Federal Executive Boards/Associations nationwide.
? Developing a self-identification form to help agencies track welfare-to-work hires governmentwide.
? Maintaining the federal jobs database distributed to approximately 1,800 state employment service offices nationwide.
? Fill 25 entry-level positions in the next several months.
? Require OPM managers to consider the welfare-to-work population for all vacancies.
? Encourage contractors to support this effort, including 375 health benefits carriers.
? Provide in-depth orientation, assign mentors to provide constant follow-up/guidance, and develop a training plan for each welfare- to-work hire.
? Provide each employee with information on benefits in such areas as child care, fare subsidy, services of the employee assistance program, and the Earned Income Tax Credit.
Small Business Administration
Administrator Aida Alvarez
President?s Hiring Initiative
SBA?s Welfare-to-Work Plan
The SBA strategy will occur in several stages and will evolve as we learn more about what small businesses will require to support people moving from welfare to work. Betsy Myers will spearhead the welfare-to-work efforts at the agency. Ms. Myers will bring superior organizing skills and important ties to the business community. With her experience in women?s business development specifically and women?s issues in general, she will highlight the fact that welfare is a woman?s issue.
SBA will begin to identify intermediaries who work to help welfare recipients become ?job ready? and who are successful in placing hard-to- employ workers into appropriate job settings. Identifying and working with intermediaries, and working in partnership with other public and private entities to create new intermediaries, is an important component of the strategy.
SBA to Organize Efforts of Small Business Partners
Social Security Administration
Acting Commissioner John Callahan
The Social Security Administration (SSA) wholeheartedly supports the President?s initiative to place the federal government in the forefront of employing welfare recipients. I give my personal commitment to this initiative and pledge that SSA will hire 150 welfare recipients each year over the next four years, for a total of 600 employees.
SSA will call upon and empower our front-line managers throughout the organization to identify and hire candidates, using existing hiring authorities. With the aid of our established communications vehicles, we will inform every SSA employee of this important initiative and convey the need to provide a supportive environment in which these new employees can thrive. We will also encourage agency contractors to participate by including welfare recipients in their workforce.
As part of this commitment, SSA will take these specific actions:
? Take the lead in coordinating this federal hiring effort in selected metropolitan areas where SSA operates large facilities.
? Place candidates for clerical and technical positions in appropriate SSA offices.
? Work with our new hires to determine their individual needs and goals in order to give them the training and experience to ensure their best possible development.
Success in hiring welfare recipients is nothing new for SSA. Our offices have long-established ties with state and local welfare organizations. We will continue to use this network in carrying out the welfare-to-work initiative. We have had great success in working with these organizations in a host of programs to move people from welfare to work.
For example, in Plainview, Texas, an SSA field manager hired a struggling single welfare mother who was then attending college. She began as a clerical worker, depending on food stamps, AFDC, and HUD assistance. Today, 12 years later, she is a Social Security claims representative.
In Kansas City, SSA hired a single mother of two who was receiving assistance. For the past two years, she has attended college while working and will soon receive her associate?s degree. She is no longer receiving AFDC. Her goals are to attain a bachelor?s degree, make a career at SSA, and become totally self-sufficient.
In every way possible, our agency stands ready to help lead the effort
and assist the nation in changing the lives of welfare recipients through
the welfare-to-work initiative.