Editorial: Working philosophy
Rowan County’s Work First program received some well-earned accolades during a recent county commission meeting. Commissioners were happy to hear that the program, which replaced traditional welfare as part of federal reforms enacted in 1996, has succeeded in moving many families from full-time dependency on government aid to full-time jobs and greater self-sufficiency. The program has worked because it uses a multipronged approach to attack cycles of poverty and dependence. While it stresses job preparation and entry into the workforce, it also provides many support services in addition to small cash stipends, including child-care subsidies, transportation assistance and food stamps. The Work First program offers real-world proof of the adage that what many struggling families need most isn’t a handout but a hand-up.