When the Welfare to Work program launched in the mid- 1990’s, the mantra for participants was “Get a Job – Get a Better Job – Get a Career.” It sounded like a great motivator, and a worthy goal.
The problem was that many who had previously been on welfare had limited job skills, and the best they could do was to get minimum wage jobs that didn’t have promotion or wage growth potential. And sadly, many of the participants had no other option but to continue to rely on government subsidies for healthcare, housing, childcare, and food stamps.
Fortunately, the tide has been shifting. Federally-funded regional Workforce Investment Boards are now required to give priority to providing career pathway opportunities for those who are on welfare (now known as GAIN—Greater Avenues to Independence) or are receiving unemployment insurance. This can include short-term vocational education or degree programs at adult education centers and community colleges, as well as four-year universities.
Propel LA is working on several projects to promote career pathways opportunities:
- “HireEd” – a 10-video series to be shown in high school homerooms that feature local millennials working in high demand, good paying jobs that can be obtained after completing a vocational certificate, AA or bachelor’s degree.
- Advocacy work informing elected officials and community leaders of the importance of the English as a Second Language and high school equivalency classes that are offered by under-funded adult education center. These programs are a critical component to moving people out of poverty and into self-sustaining careers.
Our Propel LA Team is excited to be part of the growing movement to create greater equity in our County by helping our neighbors in need.
Marianne Haver Hill
Executive Director, Propel LA