Lowry announces 20,000 welfare recipients got jobs in the last 12 months

OLYMPIA - Gov. Mike Lowry today announced that more than 20,000 welfare recipients in the state were placed into jobs in the 12-month period ending June 1996. That number shatters the record 10,000 welfare clients who got jobs in the previous year.

"This is good news for the state and shows that we're on the right track with our efforts to reform welfare by providing the services needed to help people become self-sufficient," Lowry said. "These numbers also prove that people on welfare really do want to work and that real welfare reform does not have to be punitive to be successful."

For Fiscal Year 1996, which ran from July 1995 to June 1996, the Job Opportunities and Basic Skills (JOBS) program placed 20,077 welfare clients into jobs with an average wage of $7 an hour. This was up from 10,854 JOBS placements in FY 1995 and 7,559 placements in FY 1994. The JOBS program became mandatory for all welfare recipients in October 1995.

In 1996, nearly all regions in the state had significant increases in JOBS placements. For example, in the northwest Washington and Pierce County regions, JOBS placements were up 130 and 135 percent over the previous year, respectively. The success is due largely to the state's strong economy, but also to the intense focus of public employees, business partners and clients who have aggressively pursued job training and other services.

The JOBS program is administered by the Department of Social and Health Services, with most placement operations run by the Employment Security Department. The two agencies work closely with businesses and community-based organizations to prepare welfare clients for jobs and to provide resources such as child care and transitional medical services to help get them off welfare. Washington's welfare grant expenditures for FY 96 were $34,604,018 less than budgeted, primarily because so many clients found jobs.

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For more information, contact the Governor's Communications Office at 360-753-6790.

Frequently Asked Questions about Welfare to Work and the JOBS Program