How Welfare to Work Educational Programs Construct Workforce Success

The article "It's all up to you": How Welfare-to-Work Educational Programs Construct Workforce Success

The article "It's all up to you": How Welfare-to-Work Educational Programs Construct Workforce Success addresses a common misconception among American myths and Welfare-to-Work Educational Programs that individualistic explanations of success and personal attributes such as hard work, a positive attitude, and optimism can only enable an individual to be successful (Sandlin, 2004).

Research Challenge and Purpose

The research challenge being addressed is the concept of labor force success and the facts behind the falsehoods promoted by welfare-to-work educational programs. The article is well organized with the language of a scholar and can be used as reference for further research. Sandlin takes a critical stance in regards to the factors that steer success. Her purpose is clearly stated. She maintains that the discourse of success is not limited to the individual realm and the educational system. There is need for a deeper understanding of success in multiple economic and social constraints (Andresen, 2009).

Research Questions and Objectives

Sandlin describes in detail the research questions and states her objectives at the onset of her article. The research is meticulously conducted in a classroom as an observer and the workplace as a hands-on person. The author provides sufficient background information regarding her research and the methodology she employs in conducting the entire process.

Methodology and Findings

Sandlin goes further in explaining the methodology employed in conducting her research and coming up with credible findings. The methods of data collection that she uses involve conducting both structured and semi-structured interviews. The participants in the research are the adult people enrolled in the welfare-to-work educational programs and their teachers. Sandlin uses personal observations of at least two hours a day while collecting her data. The two methods she employs in analyzing data based on her findings and responses from both teachers and welfare-to-work educational program students reveal a correct implementation of her methodology. The two-method approach that Sandlin employs in her methodology is the individualistic and structural explanation of success. The sample size includes three teachers and eight students. The author adequately describes her findings by stating the words of her respondents and appropriately describing her sample size.

Critique of Individualistic Approach and Structural Factors

However, Sandlin has the tone of a critic. She does not provide an objective step towards the achievement of success. Jennifer Sandlin opposes the highly-upheld opinions by welfare-to-work educational programs which state that individualistic attributes of hard work and positive attitudes are sufficient to foster individual success. According to Jennifer, this is a narrow way of approaching success. Considerations have to be made to the structural limitations to success which set in (Sandlin, 2004). For example, among the black American society, there has been tensions regarding moving from welfare to employment. There are sexist, racial, ethnic and disenfranchisement structural factors which deter the black American women from getting jobs (Andresen, 2009). Therefore, the rhetoric of hard work, dedication, and positive attitude are insufficient to offset the unemployment and poverty among the black American Society.

Beyond Structural and Individualistic Explanations

The analysis of success ought not be limited to structural or individualistic explanations, but be surveyed more intimately beyond these realms (Sandlin, 2004). This will have the effect of eradicating social and cultural problems which inhibit the success of a people. Success is not a matter of chance, projecting that everyone has an equal chance of success simply because one poor person elevated his status to the middle-class is fallacious. This article is a masterpiece because it provides the actual picture of success in light of realities. The assumptions and limitations of the welfare-to-education programs predispositions are clearly brought out. The author's work flows logically right from the background to the conclusion. She starts by explaining the need for this paper, then she goes on further to serve her readers with the methodology she used to conduct the research on the subject matter. Finally, Sandlin provides her findings and analyzes these findings based on peer-reviewed sources. The findings are therefore credible and accountable.

Limitations and Importance

The only limitation of the article is the fact that the author provides generalized recommendations as opposed to specific recommendations. However, the article provides important human resource development knowledge. Sandlin reminds her audience that achieving success involves a confluence of factors and is not necessarily limited to individualized or structured perceptions (Sandlin, 2004). This article, therefore, encourages scholars to consider their structural limits and the advantages posed by their individualized virtues in their quest for success. The author does not deny the input of knowledge through education and training in the achievement of success but, aptly points out that knowledge fosters just but a fraction of success. This is important to scholars because it encourages them to be all rounded without necessarily specializing in one area. The elderly people have a challenge to change their minds and lay down objective strategies aimed at success. Jennifer Sandlin's article is intriguing, save for the limits of generalized recommendations.


Andresen, M. A. (2009). Asynchronous discussion forums: Success factors, outcomes, assessments, and limitations. Educational Technology & Society, 12(1), 249-257.

Sandlin, J. A. (2004). “It’s all up to you”: How welfare-to-work educational programs construct workforce success. Adult Education Quarterly, 54(2), 89-104.

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