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Built to Last: Why Skills Matter for Long-Run Success in Welfare Reform

Author: Martinson, Karin
Source: Center for Law and Social Policy
May 2002
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These TANF restrictions on education and training are at odds with recent research findings on the experiences of welfare recipients in the labor market and on the effectiveness of different welfare-to-work strategies. In this paper, we show that skills matter generally in the labor market, even for entry-level jobs, and that the low skills of welfare recipients are an obstacle to finding lasting employment and earning enough to support a family. The welfare-to-work programs that have been most successful in helping parents work more and earn more over the long run are those that have focused on employment but made substantial use of education and training, together with job search and other employment services.



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