Dressed For Success

Companies are teaching their welfare-to-work hires how to look and act the part. The results are lasting

Yvette Johnson was the kind of job applicant who makes employers dread hiring off the welfare rolls. She had been on welfare for six years. Jobs like cleaning hospital rooms and cutting vegetables ended with her quitting or being fired. And she had four kids who had to be shuttled to day care and baby-sitting. When Kimberly Randolph, an operations supervisor for the Sprint phone company in Kansas City, Mo., met Johnson at a job fair, she pegged Johnson as "a job hopper, with a bad attitude." But at her interview, Johnson made a plea. "That was me, and I know...

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