Survey Design for TANF Caseload Project: Summary Report and Recommendations. Rational for Why the Topic Was Chosen

08/28/2002

Some barriers to employment are directly related to job skills and past work experience. Work history has been found to be a strong predictor of whether or not a welfare recipient can obtain and keep employment. Among those with work experience, some may have limited understanding of basic work-orientation norms, such as dress, grooming, attendance, punctuality, and interpersonal behavior. Others have few basic job skills, which can greatly limit their work opportunities. To be employed, even low-wage workers must have some minimum skills  for example, the ability to do arithmetic, make change, fill out forms, talk with customers, and write letters and memos. Finally, some individuals have a history of experiencing racial, ethnic, or sex discrimination or harassment in the workplace. Welfare recipients also may feel that they have been stigmatized by coworkers or employers because of their use of public assistance. Such past experiences can contribute to an overall reluctance to return to the workplace.

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