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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release May 27, 1998

                               May 27, 1998

Today, President Clinton will celebrate the success of the Welfare to Work Partnership, which has grown from 105 to 5,000 companies since it was launched at the White House last May, and whose member companies hired over 135,000 welfare recipients in 1997. The President will challenge the Welfare to Work Partnership to double its welfare hires to 270,000 in 1998, and urge every business in America to look to welfare recipients to fill labor shortages created by the booming economy. The President will be joined by United Airlines CEO Gerald Greenwald, who will release a report showing that hiring welfare recipients can cut company turnover.

The President also will release new data showing that welfare-to-work efforts like the Partnership's are paying off: welfare caseloads have dropped to 8.9 million, a record drop of 3.3 million since he signed welfare reform into law and 5.2 million since he took office. To sustain this success, the President will announce the first Welfare-to-Work competitive grants from the $3 billion fund he fought to include in the 1997 Balanced Budget Act. These grants, totaling $186 million, will support 49 innovative efforts across the country to help the most disadvantaged welfare recipients get and keep jobs. In addition, new funds for the President's welfare-to-work transportation plan, which were included in the ISTEA bill which passed Congress last week, will help even more welfare recipients go to work.

One Year Later, the President will Praise Welfare-to-Work Success and Issue New Challenge

On May 20, 1997, 105 company executives joined the President at the White House to launch the Welfare to Work Partnership. One year later, 5,000 businesses of all sizes from all 50 states have joined the Partnership and pledged to hire and retain welfare recipients without displacing current employees. In 1997, the Partnership's business partners hired 135,000 welfare recipients, and today the President will challenge those companies to double their efforts by hiring 270,000 workers from the welfare rolls in 1998. Since March of 1997, the federal government has hired 4,811 welfare recipients, 45 percent of its planned 10,000 hires by the year 2000.

The President Will Announce Record Welfare Caseloads Declines

The President will release new figures showing welfare caseloads have fallen to 8.9 million, a record drop of 3.3 million since he signed welfare reform into law and 5.2 million since he took office. The welfare rolls have declined by 37 percent since January 1993, when they stood at 14.1 million, and by 27 percent since their August 1996 level of 12.2 million. The percentage of the U.S. population on welfare is at its lowest since 1969 -- 3.3 percent. The latest data from the Census Bureau's Current Population Survey show that 1.7 million adults on welfare in 1996 were working in March 1997, an increase of 20 percent over the previous year.

The President Will Announce First Welfare-to-Work Competitive Grants

Today, the President will announce the first round of competitive grants from the $3 billion Welfare-to-Work program he fought for in the Balanced Budget Act of 1997. The $186 million in grants from the Department of Labor will support 49 innovative welfare-to-work efforts designed to move long-term welfare recipients into lasting, unsubsidized jobs. These awards are the first of five rounds of competitive grants to be awarded in 1998 and 1999. Twenty five percent of the Balanced Budget Act's $3 billion welfare-to-work funds are to be awarded on a competitive basis, with the remaining 75 percent to be allocated by formula to states to be used by local Private Industry Councils to help welfare recipients who have significant barriers to employment obtain and retain jobs. (See attached fact sheet)

The President Will Praise Congress for Funding his Welfare-to-Work Transportation Proposal

The President will praise the Congress for including his welfare-to-work transportation proposal in the ISTEA transportation bill which passed the Congress on Friday. The proposal will provide up to $150 million a year for local efforts to help welfare recipients get to where the jobs are.

United Airlines CEO Will Say Hiring From the Welfare Rolls Reduces Turnover

United Airlines CEO Gerald Greenwald, chairman of the Welfare to Work Partnership's board of directors, will release a new report that finds hiring welfare recipients can reduce company turnover. The report, The Road to Retention, includes case histories of 16 business whose retention rates for former welfare recipients are higher than for non-welfare hires. At United Airlines, retention rates are about twice as high for those hired from the welfare rolls.

The President Will Be Joined by Executives, Former Recipients, and Welfare-to-Work Grantees

The President will be joined today at the White House by:

Over 100 executives of small, medium, and large companies who belong to the Welfare to Work Partnership, including United Airlines' Greenwald and Partnership President Eli Segal;

Former welfare recipients who are now successful employees, including Rhonda Costa, a 34-year-old mother of two who has worked at Salomon Smith Barney in New York for 1 and 1/2 years, who will introduce the President; and

Some of the local organizations receiving the new Welfare-to-Work grants, including the Private Industry Councils from Detroit, Los Angeles County, Philadelphia, and San Francisco, the Corporation for Ohio Applachian Development, the Florida Developmental Disabilities Council, CHARO Alliance Welfare to Work (Los Angeles), and the National Association of Private Industry Councils.

Program of Speakers:

Eli Segal, CEO Welfare to Work Partnership Jerry Greenwald, Chairman and CEO, United Airlines, Chairman of the Board, Welfare to Work Partnership Rhonda Costa, Administrative Assistant, Salomon Smith Barney President Clinton