Document Type


Publication Date

Fall 12-22-1974


This thesis proposes a solution to two problems: people, able and willing to work, who are unable to find meaningful jobs, and the lack of certain public services. The proposed solution is for the federal government, in conjunction with state and local governments, to provide needed public services by utilizing the manpower available in the pools of the unemployed, the underemployed, and the secondary labor force, including welfare recipients who are able and willing to work. This public service employment would consist of meaningful jobs with chances for advancement and a pay scale which would provide a decent standard of living for all those employed. Such a program of coordination of the problems of unemployment (especially unemployment which results in poverty) and the need for public services will result in positive short term social benefits and long term social and economic benefits. The thesis is divided into chapters, each dealing with a particular aspect of the problem or the proposed solution. Chapter I is a rationale for the choice of employment (work) as the vehicle for achieving some of this nation's goals, notably the goal of eliminating poverty. Chapter II is a precis on poverty, analyzing some of the causes of poverty, the kinds of poor who could be helped by a program of employment, and some of the problems which would be encountered by employing the poor. Chapter III delves into the types of unemployment, pointing out the characteristics of those workers who would be most interested and most helped by a program of public service employment. Chapter IV discusses the forces which go into determining the labor force participation rates for different demographic groups. These trends make it possible to estimate roughly the numbers of people who would be interested in public service employment. Chapters II, III, and IV, in a broad sense, form a unit concerned with the possible supply of public service employment workers. Chapter V deals with the demand side of public service employment. It suggests types of services which are needed in the United States and, in some cases, guidelines for the number of people needed in order to supply these services. Chapter VI is a brief historical summary of some of the public employment programs which form a basis and precedent for this proposal of public service employment. The emphasis is on programs of the 1930's and the 1960's. The final chapter, Chapter VII, is a proposal for public service employment and an evaluation of it. Some parts of the proposal are specific, in order to answer specific criticisms of previous public employment programs. Other parts of the proposal are more general and offer great latitude for other ideas. There is no pretense that this is a final solution for the problems of poverty, unemployment, and the need for more services; it serves as a contribution toward the continuing debate over solutions to these problems.