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Memorandum on Government Employment for Welfare Recipients

March 08, 1997

Memorandum for the Heads of Executive Departments and Agencies

Subject: Government Employment for Welfare Recipients

Since I signed the historic welfare reform law, I have urged businesses, nonprofit organizations, and religious groups across the Nation to help make its promise of opportunity real by offering jobs to welfare recipients. We are making great progress, but there is more to do. And today, I take action to ensure that the Federal Government, as the Nation's largest employer, contributes to the greatest extent possible to this national effort.

I therefore direct each of you, as head of an agency or department, to use all available hiring authorities, consistent with statute and prior executive memoranda, to hire people off the welfare rolls into available job positions in the Government.

In particular, I direct you to expand the use of the Worker-Trainee Program and other excepted service hiring authorities. The Worker-Trainee Program allows agencies to quickly and easily hire entry-level persons for up to 3 years, with the ability to convert the appointment to career status if the employee has performed satisfactorily. Though recently underutilized, the program allows agencies to bypass complex Federal personnel hiring rules and procedures to bring people into the junior grades of the work force.

I further direct you, in recognition of the different characteristics of the various agencies' work forces, to prepare an individualized plan for hiring welfare recipients and to submit that plan to me within 30 days. This plan should have three principal components:

  • The plan should contain a survey indicating in which divisions and for which categories of positions your agency can most easily hire welfare recipients, both in the Washington, D.C. area, and in the field.
  • The plan should describe in detail how the agency intends to recruit and hire qualified welfare recipients. This description should include a proposed local outreach program, and utilize Federal Executive Boards and Federal Executive Agencies to bring Federal job opportunities to the attention of welfare offices, State and private employment offices, nonprofit organizations, and others that work with welfare recipients on a regular basis. This program should build upon the Government's existing nationwide employment information systems.
  • The plan should describe in detail how the agency will assist welfare recipients, once hired, to perform well and to keep their jobs. The agency should include in this aspect of the plan proposals for on-the-job training and/or mentoring programs.

I expect each agency head to report to me about his or her plan at a special cabinet meeting called for that purpose. Following this meeting, I also expect monthly reports on implementation.

To ensure deep and continuing involvement in this issue by the White House, I ask the Vice President to oversee this effort. Based on his expertise in Federal workplace issues, he will assist all agencies in carrying out their commitments.

Finally, I direct appropriate agencies to take three steps that will help bring welfare recipients into the Federal work force while assisting all other low-income Federal employees.

  • I direct each agency head to notify all employees eligible for the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) of both their eligibility and their ability to receive EITC monies each month in their paychecks. Currently, not all agencies inform qualifying employees of their eligibility and options for payment. To insure uniform implementation, I direct the Secretary of the Treasury to issue to each agency within 15 days a statement of EITC eligibility rules which agencies can use to inform their employees.
  • I direct the General Services Administration (GSA) to issue within 30 days guidelines regarding use of the Federal Fare Subsidy Program. These guidelines should address whether agencies may offer fare subsidies based on employee income, which would enable more agencies to participate in the Fare Subsidy Program.
  • I direct the GSA, after consultation with all Federal agencies, to report back to me within 30 days on plans to assist low-income Federal workers in finding affordable child care. This report shall include information on agency-sponsored child care centers and agency contracts with local child care resource and referral services, as well as recommendations on any appropriate expansion of these arrangements to provide assistance to low-income Federal workers.


William J. Clinton, Memorandum on Government Employment for Welfare Recipients Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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