Employment and Training Administration
Washington, D. C. 20210


Welfare to Work




March 24, 1997





Acting Administrator
for Regional Management
SUBJECT : Tapping a New Workforce: From Welfare to Work in the Federal Government


  1. Purpose. To provide information on the recently announced Federal welfare to work hiring initiative and its potential impact on ETA funded agencies and programs.

  2. Background. On March 8, 1997, President Clinton issued an Executive Order to Federal department and agency heads instructing them to use all available authorities to hire people off the welfare rolls into available job positions in the Federal government. In this order, the President directs each Federal agency to prepare an individualized hiring plan detailing how the agency intends to recruit and hire welfare recipients. The agency welfare recipient hiring plans are to be submitted to the President by April 7, 1997.

    Each agency's plan is to describe, in detail, how the agency intends to recruit and hire qualified welfare recipients. The description is to include a proposed local outreach program that builds upon the Government's existing nationwide employment information systems to bring Federal job opportunities to the attention of welfare offices, State and private employment offices, nonprofit organizations and others who work with welfare recipients on a regular basis. In addition, the plan is to describe, in detail, how the agency will assist welfare recipients in keeping their jobs and performing well after they are hired.

  3. ETA's Role in the Federal Hiring Initiative. The Employment and Training Administration is responding to this initiative by creating two products--a web site, http://www.doleta.gov/ohrw2w, that is geared to assisting Federal human resource managers in hiring and retaining welfare recipients; and a parallel resource guide that provides information on resources within the workforce development system. The web site became operational March 19. It has many built-in links which will permit users to tap into many other related sites. The draft resource guide, which is being sent under separate cover, is now available on the web site. The final guide will also be distributed in hard copy format to Federal human resource managers and will be made available in its entirety on the web site. Both the web site and the resources guide provide valuable information on programs and information on contact points at the State and local level. The web site will also contain links to many other related sites and will permit human resource managers to search for offices by program or geographical area.

    At the Federal Regional level, our ETA Regional Administrators will be reaching out to the other Federal agencies to ensure they are fully aware of the value that the employment and training community can provide to those agencies, i.e., recruitment, screening, training, referral of welfare recipients to jobs at the Federal agencies, limited follow-up services and coordination of support services after placement. Wherever possible, they will attempt to broker meetings of multiple agencies in an area. They will help the Federal agencies understand how the services that can be provided will save them both time and money.

  4. Opportunities for Workforce Development System. The Job Training Partnership Act (JTPA) service delivery areas, the local employment service offices, Job Corps Centers and the JTPA Title IV special targeted grantees are in a strategic position to provide a service to Federal agencies which will make their task of hiring welfare recipients easier. Each Federal agency is in the process of developing its plan for the hiring of welfare recipients using existing authorities at the entry level consistent with the President's direction to assist the nation in solving the employment problems of welfare recipients. This development provides a clear opportunity to assist Federal agencies in meeting their needs for persons who can succeed.

    The employment and training community has a proven track record over a period of years. It has demonstrated that it is knowledgeable of the welfare population's needs for unsubsidized employment. In many communities, the JTPA entity has operated both the JTPA Title II-A program and the welfare JOBS training program. Currently, 42 percent of our terminees are from the welfare population. In a similar manner, the employment service has served as the primary resource for placing welfare recipients who are job ready. Many Job Corp Centers have arranged for child care so young mothers may participate in education and training activities at their centers. Our national grantees for Indians, Migrants and Older Workers have all served a significant number of welfare recipients. It is essential that the employment and training community work with the Federal agencies as they begin the process of filling entry level jobs--initially they may be temporary or seasonal jobs for some agencies--leading to good jobs which can eventually make the recipients self-sufficient.

    At the local level, an evolving partnership has developed between the employment service, the JTPA service delivery area, other JTPA funded programs including Job Corps Centers and special targeted programs, and the social services agency. Together, these organizations have effectively moved toward solving the training and employment needs of the welfare recipients. As States have started to move forward with their efforts under the welfare reform legislation, this relationship has become even more closely linked. Building on these relationships, there is a need to reach out to the Federal agencies to make them aware of the resources that exist and how they can assist in meeting the President's objective of hiring welfare recipients.

    If we effectively meet this challenge, it will demonstrate to the nation that the employment and training community can be a partner in addressing the complex issue of moving welfare recipients to gainful employment.

  5. Action Required. Please provide information on the Federal welfare to work hiring initiative to local service providers so that they can best position themselves to take advantage of this opportunity.

  6. Inquiries. Questions may be addressed to the appropriate Regional Office.

  7. Attachment.


NOTE: Attachments not available to DMS