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December 4, 1996
The Post is correct . . .

by George McDonald
The Post is correct in praising mandatory drug testing for all public assistance recipients. Not all social-service programs -- in your words, "the professionally compassionate" -- oppose drug testing. In fact, it is a cornerstone of our Ready, Willing & Able work and training program for homeless men.

All participants are drug-tested at regular intervals and sanctioned appropriately if the tests come back positive. It is not wrong to expect responsible behavior from those enrolled in publicly funded programs.

I agree that higher incomes are a powerful incentive for welfare recipients to take on paid work. However, without comprehensive job training that addresses all obstacles to employment (addiction, illiteracy, poor/absent work ethic), there will be no work income.

Ready, Willing & Able participants work during the day in paid on-the-job training assignments while receiving substance-abuse counseling, GED preparation and life-skills instruction in the evenings. When they graduate, they are excellent workers prepared to compete in the private sector, even in a tight labor market.

Government has neither the capacity nor the creativity to create such programs on the scale that will be necessary to transform welfare recipients into productive members of society.

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