Skip over navigation

Journal Issue: Welfare to Work Volume 7 Number 1 Spring 1997

Turning Job Finders into Job Keepers
Alan M. Hershey LaDonna A. Pavetti

Summary

Most welfare-to-work programs designed to help single mothers leave welfare for employment focus on the challenge of finding a job. This article looks beyond the point of employment to consider the difficulty many former welfare recipients have keeping their jobs. The authors review evidence showing that many families cycle back and forth between welfare and work, losing jobs and returning to public assistance while they seek work again. Factors contributing to high rates of job loss include characteristics of the job and of the worker: Temporary jobs, frequent layoffs, low pay in relation to work expenses, lack of experience meeting employer expectations, and personal or family problems all lead to dismissals and resignations. Drawing from the experience of innovative programs, the authors recommend policy changes and program approaches that can help families overcome setbacks and stabilize their lives as they move from welfare into increasingly stable employment.