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Jobs Available for Welfare Recipients

Your May 22 editorial, “Finding Jobs for the Least Ready,” missed a very important fact: The Economic Roundtable’s recent report indicated that the unemployment rate in L.A. County is double the official count. That means that despite all the hoopla about this great economy, between 500,000 and 600,000 people are still out of work. The report indicated that 10% of all jobs in the county were lost between 1990 and 1994, and those jobs have yet to be replaced.

Your focus on reporting the needs of those coming off welfare is well-intentioned, but an investigation into the bigger picture of those who once had good jobs and can’t get back into the work force is long overdue by The Times.

KENNETH W. KELLER, Valencia

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Your editorial was on the money. We in education have been shut out of the loop in relation to the welfare programs, such as Welfare to Work, which is a work-first proposal and has no provisions for training or education, and the Job Training Partnership Act, which went from 88 contracted agencies by the city to 15.

A survey conducted by the L.A. Coalition to End Hunger and Homelessness found that out of 206 recipients who are on general relief: 152 believe they will become homeless, 38 will be unable to travel to work, 75 will lose their job, 93 will be unable to attend medical appointments, 101 will be unable to actively seek employment and 103 will be unable to supply themselves with basic needs. We have introduced a number of proposals to the city of L.A. addressing the educational needs of GR and homeless populations. So far, nothing seems to be happening in having them look at the situation. It will not go away. There needs to be a voice in the political arena who can speak to this problem.

Without basic skills or job skills, the chances for GR recipients who have been thrust into the job market will be disastrous.

IRVING RABB, Coordinator, JTPA, Abram Friedman Occupational Center, LAUSD

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The slash-and-burn Republicans must now face the facts that they ignored in their program to “reform welfare.” The cheerful assumption that there are jobs “out there” for everyone who will look for them has now been proved false, at least for L.A. County, as the May 20 story makes clear.

There are many social workers and experienced officials who can say “I told you so.” Even in conditions of “full employment” and shortage of skilled workers, this holds true.

FREDERIC E. PAMP, Santa Barbara

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