Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Social Work (MSW)


Social Work

First Advisor

Sharon Patten

Second Advisor

Phu Phan

Third Advisor

Gillian Workman Stein


The past decade of welfare reform emphasized moving welfare recipients from public assistance towards economic self-sufficiency through employment. This exploratory quantitative study compared perceived barriers,welfare recipients face when seeking employment through the perspectives of the welfare participants (n=265), county financial supervisors (n=74), and employment service supervisors (n=56). The study used secondary data from three rural studies conducted by the Minnesota Department of Human Services. A comparative analysis was completed using a triangulation method of the most perceived barriers to employment. A theoretical analysis which utilized the general systems theory and eco-systems perspective was also completed. The findings revealed that the most perceived barrier to employment indicated by welfare participants was local wages, while county financial supervisors indicated lack of motivation. Employment service supervisors cited inadequate transportation as the most significant barrier to employment. The findings revealed many interesting similarities in the perceptions of county financial workers and employment service supervisors compared to welfare participants. The implications of these findings support the complexity involved with designing and implementing effective welfare-to-work (workfare) programs.


SC 11.MSW.2000.Pischke.PJ

Included in

Social Work Commons