President Bush and Democratic presidential nominee Bill Clinton advocate "workfare" -- requiring welfare recipients to get education or job training if they want to receive benefits. But the story of the Human Development Institute, a small job-training company located in Baltimore, shows the difficulty of implementing such a policy under Washington's conflicting regulatory structure.
HDI did what it promised -- it made workers out of welfare mothers. Seventy-five percent of the 1,500 women who passed through HDI's training sessions found jobs. Despite its success, the company decided not to renew its contract with Baltimore City's Office of Employment Development. Betty Merrill, the company's owner, said she just couldn't make enough money.
As mandated by Washington, the state is attempting to get long-term welfare recipients and teen parents off public assistance and into the work force. These women are enrolled in various federally financed job training programs, which operate under stringent guidelines.