Partnership between Vocational Institutions and Welfare Programs
As welfare programs have grown more costly, it has become obvious that they merely treat the symptom, poverty, instead of the problem, unemployment. Jobs increasingly require higher levels. of skills and better educated workers. Since the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 has ended the federal guarantee of benefits to any eligible poor person, welfare programs need to work more closely with vocational education programs to help persons who will lose welfare benefits to gain basic and employability skills. A study in Wood County, Ohio, assessed the basic skills of enrollees in the welfare department's job training program and basic skill needs relative to the qualifications expected of high school graduates. A randomly selected sample of 39 clients took the Survey Form Level A of the Test of Adult Basic Education. Results showed that the participants' average reading grade level was 10.7, their average mathematics grade level was 7.4, and their language skills, 6.8. It was recommended that vocational-technical education programs be used to teach welfare recipients basic and job skills in an integrated manner using state-of-the-art equipment, flexible programs, and an experienced faculty in order for them to enter the work force.