I am proud to announce that the Department of Defense is taking an active role in this effort. Through the collaboration of many Defense Components, the Department has prepared a plan to recruit welfare recipients to fill entry-level positions across the country, consistent with applicable laws and regulations. These new workers will meet needs not only in the civil service but also in our nonappropriated fund activities, such as base exchanges and recreation facilities. In addition, we are encouraging our contractors to take similar actions.
Even with our substantial downsizing in recent years, the Department has the flexibility to offer opportunities to help individuals get started in the work world. We will cooperate with other agencies and state governments to use this flexibility to maximum advantage. As a result, we will provide the workplace and skills training, as well as the support mechanisms, that are essential for long-term success.
This effort will not disadvantage anyone due special consideration because of veterans' preference, spouse preference, other legislation affecting hiring or Priority Placement Program registration. Instead, it will demonstrate that the Federal government is a model employer -- in President Clinton's words, "demanding high performance from workers but going the extra mile to offer opportunity to those who have been on welfare and want to do something more with their lives."
When positions become available in your organization, I expect that you will consider the possibility of hiring welfare recipients, consistent with applicable laws and regulations. When such individuals are hired, I further expect you to provide the mentoring and other guidance that can ease the transition. Together, we can make a significant difference in the communities we serve.