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Working On Welfare

Small business explores the challenge of hiring welfare recipients.

For at least a decade, small business has been touted as the major job-creation machine behind the U.S. economy. Now the government has tapped small business to play a leading role in the national effort to put welfare recipients to work. But does Uncle Sam really understand what you need to do this?

Since we first told you about the potential business opportunities resulting from welfare reform legislation last January, much has taken place. One of the biggest changes has been the government's shift in focus from welfare reform itself to the welfare-to-work effort. Under this movement, state and federal governments are focusing on transferring people from the welfare rolls into unsubsidized jobs as quickly as possible.

States have touted the success of their own welfare-to-work programs by noting the number of people who have left the rolls. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Administration for Children and Families, 607,000 families left the welfare rolls since The Personal Responsibility Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act was signed into law in August 1996. Now states are working to reach their first required goal of moving 50 percent of eligible caseloads into the work force--encompassing an estimated 2 million people nationwide.

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This article was originally published in the January 1998 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Working On Welfare.

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