Contact:	Anne Canty, Columbia				For immediate release
		Beverly Solochek, Barnard

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Role of the Business Community in Welfare to Work is Topic of Barnard/Columbia Forum March 31st

"Many people think that the debate over welfare reform ended last fall with the passage of federal legislation," said Professor Ester Fuchs, Director of the Barnard-Columbia Center for Urban Policy, "but, in fact, this is only the beginning. Fifty State Legislatures and countless municipalities around the country are now faced with the task of developing programs to move people from welfare to work. And, one thing is clear: Government cannot do it alone." The role of the private sector in welfare reform will be examined in-depth on Monday, March 31 during Welfare to Work: Can the Business- Government Partnership Succeed?, the Third Annual David N. Dinkins Leadership and Public Policy Forum, sponsored by the Barnard-Columbia Center for Urban Policy. In less than one year, welfare to work has gone from the cutting edge of public policy to a widely accepted means for dealing with a new federal mandate. Although programs like New York City's Work Experience Program (WEP) have successfully put thousands of people to work, they rely mainly on the government as employer and pay workers sub-minimum wage. Four consecutive panels will be made up of current and former mayors, business executives, and entrepreneurs. The panelists will discuss a range of topics from existing welfare to work programs to the role of the business community in creating entry-level jobs and providing training for former welfare recipients; to which level of government should be primarily responsible for implementing new policies. (See attached schedule for a full list of panelists and times.) Panelists include: David N. Dinkins, former New York City Mayor; Norman Rice, Mayor of Seattle and chairman of the U.S. Conference of Mayors Task Force on Welfare Reform; Edward Rendell, Mayor of Philadelphia; Deborah Wright, President of the New York City Empowerment Zone; Kathy Wylde, CEO of the NYC Investment Fund; Janet Tully from Marriott International; Herman Cain, president Godfather's Pizza Inc.; Jonathan Tisch, CEO Loews Hotel; and Rachel Hubka, president of Rachel's Bus Company. "Regardless of how we feel about so-called welfare reform, it is a fact that Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs. "The question is, Will the private sector join forces with government to make welfare to work programs a constructive experience for former welfare recipients and for our municipalities in general. "Take for instance the WEP program in New York City: WEP claims tens of thousands of placements of former welfare recipients in City agencies, but are these people actually learning transferable work skills? Or will they just become a permanent -- and lower paid-- part of the municipal work force who don't have access to proper safety training and equipment and who perform work previously done by unionized employees? These are some of the issues that we must consider as welfare to work programs spring up around the country," Dinkins said. Funding for the Dinkins Forum is provided by The Chase Manhattan Foundation; Pfizer Foundation; Schroder Wertheim & Co., Inc.; and the Laura S. and Jonathan M. Tisch Foundation. With the exception of the last panel, the Conference will be held at Columbia University, in the International Affairs Building, 118th Street, between Amsterdam Avenue and Morningside Drive, 15th Floor. The last panel, at 4 P.M., will be in Low Library rotunda (enter at 116th St. and Broadway.) For more information or to reserve space, call 212- 854-2701. 19,082