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May 27, 1998

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We've got to prove that we did the right thing in welfare reform for all the American people that are willing to do the right thing by themselves, their children, and our country. And if we ever needed evidence that it is right, we've got it here today in full.

- President Bill Clinton
May 27, 1998

Today, in the East Room, President Clinton is joined by Secretary of Labor Alexis Herman, Secretary of Health and Human Services Donna Shalala, Small Business Administrator Aida Alzarez, Eli Segal, President of the Welfare to Work Partnership, and Gerald Greenwald, Chief Executive Officer of United Airlines and Chairman of the Board for the Welfare to Work Partnership, to celebrate the first anniversary of the Welfare-to-Work Partnership, which enlists the private sector to hire people from welfare to work. The President will be announcing Welfare-to-Work competitive grants to help place the most disadvantaged welfare recipients in lasting jobs.

Welfare-To-Work Is Putting People To Work. In 1996, President Clinton signed sweeping welfare reform legislation aimed at moving welfare recipients onto the payrolls. One year ago, the White House launched the Welfare-to-Work Partnership, an independent, non-partisan effort by companies nationwide to hire welfare recipients. A year later, the Welfare-to-Work Partnership is making great progress. The President will highlight several of the Partnership's key accomplishments:

  • Over 5,000 companies have joined the Welfare-to-Work Partnership. In May 1997, when the Welfare-to-Work Partnership was launched, 105 companies signed on as business partners, pledging to hire and retain welfare recipients without displacing current employees. One year later, over 5,000 companies of all sizes have joined the Partnership.
  • In 1 year, 135,000 former welfare recipients have been hired. In the year since the Welfare-to-Work Partnership was formed, member companies have hired over 135,000 former welfare recipients.
  • Former welfare recipients have high employment retention rates. The Partnership will release a report, The Road to Retention, which includes case histories of 16 businesses whose retention rates for former welfare recipients are higher than for non-welfare hires.

Strengthening A Solid Record Of Accomplishment. Welfare rolls have fallen 37 percent since the President took office in 1993 and 27 percent since the enactment of welfare reform in 1996. Today, the percentage of the U.S. population on welfare -- 3.3 percent -- is at its lowest level since 1969. To sustain the success of welfare reform, the President fought to include a $3 billion Welfare-to-Work fund as part of the Balanced Budget Act of 1997. Today, the President will announce:

  • Welfare-to-Work grants for innovative programs. The President will announce the release of $186 million in Welfare-to-Work competitive grants from the Department of Labor. These grants will support 49 innovative efforts around the country to help the most disadvantaged welfare recipients get and keep jobs. Four additional rounds of competitive grant proposals are scheduled through 1999.
  • A continuing commitment to hiring former welfare recipients. President Clinton will challenge the Welfare-to-Work Partnership to double their efforts by hiring 270,000 workers from welfare by the end of 1998. The President will also announce that the federal government has hired over 4,800 welfare recipients, almost half of the hiring goal the Administration committed to meeting by the year 2000.
  • Meeting the challenges welfare recipients face: transportation. The President fought for, and Congress passed, as part of the transportation bill, up to $150 million for local communities to improve transportation for welfare recipients.

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