President Clinton yesterday announced that federal agencies will hire at least 10,000 people off the welfare rolls over the next four years. The White House itself will hire at least six people, Clinton said.
About 4,000 of the welfare recipients will be hired by the Commerce Department to help conduct the year 2000 census. The Defense Department has pledged to hire 1,600 welfare recipients; Veterans Affairs, 800; and the Social Security Administration, 600, the Administration said. Other agency goals are listed below.
President Clinton also said the administration will urge companies who contract with the government to hire people off welfare.
"These will not be make-work jobs," Clinton said. "These will be jobs that actually need to be fulfilled, work that needs to be done for the American people. We will demand the highest performance from the new employees and insist that they live up to their responsibilities. But we will also offer them a chance at a new beginning."
Vice President Gore attempted to head off concerns about starting a hiring initiative during a time of government downsizing.
"Everybody should understand that even as downsizing continues, there is a natural continuing hiring process in the government," he said. And as the net number of federal employees continues to go down, there is a natural process by which this hiring continues."
Clinton said a special push to hire welfare recipients is needed because about 60 percent of people who receive public assistance have a "generational dependence on welfare." The other 40 percent, he said, "get the help they need, get right off, and go on with their lives."
The President said people on welfare should contact welfare offices at the state level to find out about federal job openings in their area. Gore said welfare recipients will also be able to find out about federal jobs open to them by searching the government job bank on the Internet or by going to federal office buildings in their area.
President Clinton announced the hiring plan at a Cabinet meeting, during which Clinton introduced two former welfare recipients who got jobs with the federal government. Rebecca Wilson, a single mother of two from Clinton, Iowa, became a clerk at a local Social Security office. Tonya Graham, also a single mother, is now a full-time claims representative for Social Security after being on welfare while attending college.
Source: The White House