The booming economy and welfare-to work programs have contributed to a sharp decline in the number of people receiving welfare, which has declined by 31 percent in two years. The 3 million Americans who are still out of work are in desparate need of support, education and work experience.
Vice President Gore will announce a new $3 billion federal program today, set up to aid the poorest and most needy Americans. Grants totalling $273 million will be allocated to 75 communities throughout the country by the Labor Department and will offer job placement, employment training, parent education, drug treatment, 24-hour transportation, all-night child care services, and apprenticeships.
“To some extent, this is like venture capital,” Deputy Assistant Secretary of Labor Raymond Uhalde said. “Congress wanted us to tackle the hard problems, to develop new coalitions, to see what works and what doesn’t.”
Recipients must meet several requirements. They must be high school dropouts who are unable to read above a seventh-grade level. In addition, recipients must have received welfare benefits for over 30 months, and must possess at least one other barrier to unemployment, such as an inadequate work history.