For two years, Joan Ryan followed the 12 members of the inaugural class of the Youth to Apprenticeship Program, one of the many wellfare-to-work programs springing up across the U.S. For nine months, the YAP participants were to a attend classes and seminars that would help them receive their GEDs and train them for union jobs. Following those nine months, the participants would get union jobs that would help them get out of the projects. By the time the first six months of the program was up, Ryan found, five of the participants had dropped out of the program. After the first nine months, only four participants were left. Two years after YAP first started, only one participant remained with the union, while another got a good paying job as a meter maid. The rest returned to welfare.
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