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Welfare Reform
A number of countries across the globe do have welfare programs, essentially these are government systems aimed at helping families and individuals in need. For instance, America has elaborate systems that aim to offer fairly complete systems, which aid Americans not only in monetarily terms but also through other forms of assistance such as medical care services, and work training programs (Rushefsky, 2013). Consequently, this paper seeks to understand how did the PRWORA Act of 1996 change America's welfare system? Moreover, we shall seek to know how a mandated vocational training or job skills program will help the current system.
The success of such welfare systems has been widely studied, monitored intimately, and adjusted accordingly to suite different situations. Thus, the government saw the need to place much emphasis on changing the norm from the “Welfare to Work” ostensibly this was aimed at decreasing overreliance on federal aid (Weil, and Finegold, 2011). This is imperative since welfare programs are the most intricate systems to be rolled out by any government and thus require enormous expenditure in terms of human and financial resources.
The other reason is that welfare systems are aimed at providing assistance to the majority poor who are otherwise very needy (Weil, and Finegold, 2011). Thus, any dysfunction of the system can result to great suffering to many citizens; it can also cause immense concern to stakeholders. In the year 1996, the American government implemented a massive reform effort to its welfare programs.
During President Clinton reign, PRWORA Act also known as Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act was signed into law in the year 1996 (Rushefsky, 2013). This represented a more comprehensive revision of federal welfare in duration of over thirty years. According to some studies, welfare reform was quite successful. For instance, over a period of 10 years, the number of Americans joining welfare increased from a partly 12.5 million in 1996 to over 4.2 million in the year 2009.
The reform Act made huge and notable changes in the manner which welfare services were provided to the citizens. For instance, AFDC has offered cash rewards to families with kids where the parents are unemployed, deceased, were absent, or incapacitated. The program draws funding from a number of sources, which include a combination of state and federal funds (Tanner, and DeHaven, 2010). However, the percentage of contribution varied from 50% to 80%, where the state is mandated with the task of allocating benefit levels, whereas, the federal government is tasked with the responsibility of determining eligibility prerequisites.
States hold the incentive to increase benefit levels since that would help draw supplementary federal payments. Thus, this would be imperative since it would guarantee a prolonged stay of recipients on the program. Welfare reform signed in the year 1996, eliminated most of federal payment and eligibility rules, providing states much greater elasticity to tailor their own systems. Moreover, the reforms abolished welfare’s “entitlement” condition such that no individual would get an automatic qualification to the benefits (Rushefsky, 2013). Thus, states are privileged to pick families of their choice, which they wish to help.
However, it was necessary for the states to continue spending over 80% of their earlier levels under their “maintenance of effort” proviso. The welfare reform compelled extensive work requirements to all of its recipients. For instance, the states are needed to provide over 50% of eligible welfare beneficiaries from single parent families partaking in various work activities (Weil, and Finegold, 2011). A two parent families, the contribution requirement is 90%. Nevertheless, states were awarded numerous credits and exemptions, which significantly decreased the number of beneficiaries needed to work. For instance, states obtain a credit according to their caseload reductions.
Due to the fact that welfare rolls have tumbled, the average effectual minimum work contribution requirement as in the year 2006 was barely 5% for all families and close to 18% for two parent families. In essence, for seventeen states and two regions, the results has shown impressive outcome for instance, the results shows that credit has reduced significantly the effectual work requirement to zero levels, and only twenty-one states have an effectual minimum bigger than 10% (Rushefsky, 2013). Consequently, nearly all states have carved-out bigger exemptions from such work requirement policies.
After all the exemptions, credits, and waivers are taken into consideration, only 32% of welfare beneficiaries were working in the year 2009. Whereas, the above figure is very low, it does show a considerable improvement over pre reform welfare. For instance, under the old welfare system, only about 10% of beneficiaries were working (Tanner, and DeHaven, 2010). Welfare reform program helped end unlimited corresponding funds for AFDC and created set block grants for state-tailored systems of work conditioned aid and time limited to needy families with kids. It widened its scope and welfare goals to reduce non-marital pregnancies and encourage two parent families.
Currently, single parents on welfare programs have joined workforce in unprecedented numbers. However, a large number of these single-parents are joining their work stations ostensibly with no experience, limited work histories, and limited skills (Hamilton, and Gueron, 2002). This has resulted inability of these single parents to secure decent employment opportunities for instance, they normally end up in low paying jobs and thus they continue to languish in abject poverty.
Matters are further aggravated for many of the caseload who fails to graduate from high schools. In general, it seems that beneficiaries with higher levels of skills and experience tend to secure well paying jobs thus, it is logical that a mandated vocational training, job skills program, and proper education be developed since it would help attain goals of welfare reform (Daggett, 2014). The main purpose of a mandated vocational training, technical education, job skills program, and career education is to offer a basic foundation of skills, which will help High School Students gain decent employment opportunity upon graduation.
This decent employment can either be on a fulltime basis or merely part-time employment where the employee can have an opportunity to further their training and education. Virtually two-thirds of every graduates of technical, vocational, and career programs gain admission to some kind of postsecondary education program. Education and career development stakeholders have realized the many benefits of a mandated vocational training and job skills program and thus this program has been rolled out extensively in America (Daggett, 2014). For instance, these programs are provided in over 10,000 comprehensive learning institutions.
The key subjects provided in these institutions include business related courses such as office administration, and entrepreneurship. Moreover, they offer great industrial and trade courses such as computer numerical control, carpenter, and automotive technician (Tanner, and DeHaven, 2010). Those willing to gain skills in health occupations field are well catered for in a mandated vocational training and job skills program since after their training they would attain dental, medical, and nursing skills. In agricultural field, learners would gain skills in agribusiness activities, food production, modern livestock keeping techniques, and fiber production.
In family and consumer studies, an individual will gain skills in culinary arts, life skills, and family management skills. Moreover, they offer great skills in the market and marketing field where you can be trained on how to conduct retail and product merchandising. In technology, you shall have an opportunity to get skills in computer-based careers (Daggett, 2014). In a mandated vocational training, career, and job skills programs generally are provided as a series of courses complemented by work based experiences like apprenticeships and internships.
These work experiences continue to be a feature of technical, vocational, and career education. Mandated vocational training and Job skills programs are very beneficial to the current system since they teach broad skills, which are useful in numerous occupations. This is possible since the kinds of preparation obtained from these programs are affixed in strong academic skills that instill into learners how to face different real-life challenges (Hamilton, and Gueron, 2002). For instance, the acquired academic skills comprise the competencies required in various contemporary workplaces.

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