In 1988 the Family Support Act was passed into law requiring welfare recipients to participate in work experience programs to receive their welfare benefits. This paper questions the effectiveness of mandatory workfare programs in rural impoverished regions of the United States. The Appalachian counties of Ohio are used as a case example to demonstrate the problems in implementing workfare programs in economically distressed regions where limited job opportunities exist. Implications for policy are examined, alternatives to mandatory work programs are discussed, and further research to determine the utility of workfare programs is called for.

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