, Volume 40, Issue 3-4, pp 301-312
Date: 02 Oct 2007

Work Barriers in the Context of Pathways to the Employment of Welfare-to-Work Clients

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The ability of welfare-to-work clients to leave the welfare rolls and stay in the labor force is often limited by the work barriers they face. Using a sample of 1,404 female welfare-to-work clients we first examined the structure of work barriers and then tested their contribution to current work status in the context of a structural equation model that incorporated other central pathways to employment. Whereas work barriers included diverse factors ranging from lack of transportation to low quality jobs, they were shown to constitute a uni-dimensional construct. Furthermore, work barriers had a net adverse effect on employment outcomes, controlling for job search self-efficacy and employment intention. We conclude with discussion of implications for the development of welfare-to-work programs and interventions that target low-income women.

This paper is based on research supported by the National Institute of Mental Health grant number P30-MH38330 to the Michigan Prevention Research Center. The first author was supported in part by National Institute of Mental Health Michigan grant number T32-MH63057. The first author presented portions of this paper at the 2005 annual meeting of the International Society for Quality-of-Life Studies (ISQOLS), Philadelphia, PA, and at the 2004 annual meeting of the Society for Social Work and Research (SSWR), New Orleans, LA.