Workfare Staffing Works

Jun 12, 2002

Reuters reports that retailers such as Home Depot are turning to “workfare programs” to fill associate openings in stores. The Atlanta-based DIY chain is said to currently have 700 people on its payroll that came from the federal government’s welfare-to-work program.

Today, five million people are on welfare in the United States. An anticipated labor shortage in the years ahead due to the aging of baby boomers and other factors will challenge companies to remain adequately staffed.

Emily DeRocco, assistant secretary, U.S. Labor Department says, “We’re confronting in coming decades a fairly significant change in the demographics of our work force, including a smaller number of available American workers. Companies do understand that in the years ahead, they are going to struggle to find a sufficient number of workers.”

In an era where loyalty is seriously lacking, welfare-to-work employees may provide added stability to organizations. Bank of America has found that retention rates are higher for the 6,000 company employees that were formerly on welfare than those that were not.

Moderator Comment: Should retailers be actively looking
to workfare programs to fill staffing needs? Is this purely a public relations
ploy or an innovative approach to meeting labor force challenges?

Give a man a gift and he’ll use it. Hire and train a man
to do a job and he’ll buy lots of stuff for himself as well as gifts for others.

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