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Welfare-to-Work Agencies Using the Adkins Program
Welfare/Workfare Transitions

In today's climate of changing rules governing the administration of welfare and employment programs, the Adkins Program is continuing to prove effective in accomplishing two main objectives:

  • helping welfare clients to get jobs immediately
  • helping welfare clients to develop choices and plans for long term career development

It also helps them connect the two in planning how they will support themselves while working toward their own goals. As clients make their own informed job and career choices their motivation increases and they see themselves make progress.

This results in:

  • High Client/Customer satisfaction
  • Low dropout rate
  • High job placement
  • High job retention

It also results in increased awareness of the importance of Family Self-sufficiency and how a parent is a role model for children. And an added benefit to agencies is higher staff morale as the staff sees that they are helping their clients.

The Adkins Program helps clients develop a framework for their work lives. Individuals learn to think about their short-term and long-term future and their educational plans. For example they are helped to see the immediate required job as an opportunity for income and for exploratory learning which could enable them to implement long range plans for education or employment. The immediate job becomes a STOPGAP JOB or ENABLING JOB which provides income and experience as they work on their future goals.

The learning activities and group interactions in the Adkins Program help clients learn about the many skills they already have and assist them in setting goals to learn new skills and make informed choices.

Clients are helped to see the value of work and immediate work experience as a way to get money for self and family support, to begin to gain independence from the welfare system and to establish work credentials The Adkins Program experience helps them develop the attitudes and values that support a life of gainful employment.

Supporting Research


In a 4 yr. organizational development project funded by the New York Community Trust the Institute for Life Coping Skills worked with 9 community agencies to help them develop the capacity to respond to new Welfare legislation. Agency staff monitored progress for some 448 clients who prior to intervention had no involvement in employment, training or education activities. Staff reported:

  • Excellent Life Skills group attendance and participation
  • High staff satisfaction with the program
  • Employment and training outcomes demonstrated gain in movement toward work related activities
  • 38% had realistic employability plans
  • 22% were enrolled in GED/Literacy programs
  • 42% in vocational training
  • 12% in internships
  • 22% in full time employment

Community Agencies and Welfare Reform Report


In the early stages of welfare reform the Employability Skills Project (ESP) of New York City's Human Resource Administration experimented with an innovative, client-centered approach to help move people toward self-sufficiency. The core program in the ESP was the Adkins Life Skills Career Development Program used concurrently with vocational training, education and work experience components.

Outcomes for 300 participants in the ESP program were compared to a control group of people placed only in Workfare (work experience programs). The results indicated that ESP participants made real progress in moving out of welfare to employment while the comparison group demonstrated little progress.

  • 27% obtained full time employment vs. 1% of workfare-only group
  • 49% enrolled in educational or vocational training programs vs. 0% for the workfare-only group
  • 46% got off welfare vs 14% for workfare-only group
  • 83% attended regularly vs 28% for workfare-only group

Employability Skills Project: A Life Skills Approach to Making Welfare Work

[ MORE RESEARCH ]       [ TOP ]

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