Mudcat Café message #1033563 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #63553   Message #1033563
Posted By: Rosebrook
11-Oct-03 - 03:09 AM
Thread Name: BS: Benefits/Welfare.
Subject: RE: BS: Benefits/Welfare.
My livelihood is as an Instructor in a Job Training Program for participants who are (hopefully) transitioning from welfare to the workplace. It's a work simulation program, and I work daily with an ever-changing population of up to 25 individuals.

Many of the folks I work with are facing huge barriers, i.e. their own lack of education and training, lack of reliable child care and transportation, a possible history of drug / alcohol addiction, incarceration, mental illness, domestic violence, physical or learning disabilities, low cognitive skills, etc. I work with some people who have multiple barriers.

I have learned some things that are irrefutable to me: welfare recipients are as diverse as any other group of people. You cannot "clump them" all together, or have a "typical" stereotype image of a welfare recipient. I've worked with people who have incredible internal motivation to succeed, no matter what hiccups they face in their paths. I've also worked with highly manipulative people who know exactly how to "work the system".

One previous poster remarked about productivity. I have learned that for the majority of the people I instruct, the act of learning to work - participating in work itself increases their sense of self-worth and confidence. And for too many people in my program, that has been lost somewhere along the way. Welfare recipients are mandated to participate in my program. It's part of the welfare reform act. So often people come into the program with a defensive attitude. I have learned that this is usually masking fear and self-doubt. I see incredible turn-arounds in attitude once participants get into the program and start doing the work - meeting the expectations - participating as a co-worker. Either this happens, or typically they flake out of the program.

If they fail to participate in these "work attached" activities, they face a disqualification process where their benefits are reduced incrementally.   

Lastly, I have also learned that timing is everything in successfully transitioning from welfare to self-sufficiency. For what it's worth...