Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name



Political Science


John Mollenkopf

Subject Categories

Education | Education Policy | Higher Education | Other Political Science | Political Economy | Political Science


Education, Welfare, Degree, Reform, Income, CUNY


This paper seeks to study the income patterns at the sub-bachelorette level through community colleges and workforce training programs. Using 2018 U.S. Census PUMA microdata, this thesis not only explores which fields of study, industries, and occupations have a sufficient number of observations to determine whether they provide incomes which are commensurate with a middle class livelihood but, also whether these jobs are plentiful in number.

The second goal is to evaluate the effects of the 1996 Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (the Clinton era welfare reform) and how it has influenced Giuliani era ‘work requirement’ initiatives tied to assistance programs such as Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and Safety Net Assistance (SNA). By demonstrating income gains at the community college level, this paper suggests the need for greater cooperation among such programs as CUNY ASAP, homeless shelters, and other local governmental agencies which allocate welfare services.

Potential social workers or case managers could utilize this research to guide people on public assistance into community college programs that will increase their likelihood of long-term employment at a wage that is substantially above the poverty line. This might be fostered by a potential legislative weakening of workforce requirements and implementing periodic transcript audits as a new means of accountability. Additionally, a greater emphasis in training programs should be placed on more employable fields that can serve people in both their short-term and long-term career aspirations.