Working On Welfare

Playing Their Part

Entrepreneurial companies are not the only sector of the business community being asked to shoulder the responsibility for hiring welfare recipients. Major corporations are being urged to play a part as well. And while small firms don't have the financial resources larger companies do, entrepreneurs can learn a lot by examining how large companies structure welfare-to-work programs.

Some big businesses choose to tap into existing educational programs, while others, such as Intel Corp. and Marriott International Inc., find that creating internal training curricula fills their needs much better. Marriott's Pathways to Independence is one of the corporate world's most publicized welfare-to-work programs.

"Based on a lot of experience, we found when you hire people with little or no work experience and put them on the job with minimal [training]--basic orientation--three weeks later, they will be gone," says Janet Tully, Marriott's director of community employment training.

To combat this problem, in 1991, Marriott launched Pathways in Atlanta. The six-week training program combines classroom instruction with occupational skills training. "We teach three basic things in training: dependability, accountability and self-esteem," says Tully.

But Marriott doesn't stop with classes and training, Tully says. After the instructional program, Marriott guarantees graduates an offer of full-time employment and provides them with a support system of co-workers and supervisors to make sure issues like transportation and day care are solved.

While the hotel giant could easily afford to foot the entire bill for the training program, Marriott has teamed up with private industry councils, Job Corps, the Jewish Vocational Services, and Common Ground Community organizations, which reimburse the corporation for about 60 percent of the training costs.

Contact Sources

Boys and Girls Clubs of America, 600 Jefferson Plaza, Rockville, MD 20852

California Department of Social Services, Greater Avenues for Independence (GAIN) Program,

Chip Coleman, c/o Culpeper County, 155 W. Davis St., Culpeper, VA 22701, (540) 825-1251

Goodwill Industries International, (800) 741-0197,

Intel Corp.,

Key Communications Group Inc., 5617 Warwick Pl., Chevy Chase, MD 20815-5503, (800) 705-5353

Marriott International Inc., Marriott Dr., Washington, DC 20058, (301) 380-7484

National Association of Manufacturers, (202) 637-3000,

National Retail Federation, 325 Seventh St. N.W., #1000, Washington, DC 20004

Pacolet International Translations Inc., P.O. Box 2261, Rockford, IL 61131-0261,

Small Business Administration, 409 Third St. S.W., Washington, DC 20416, (800) 8-ASK-SBA

Urban Institute,

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, 370 L'Enfant Promenade S.W., Washington, DC 20447,

U.S. Department of Labor, Employment Training Administration, (202) 219-6871,

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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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