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 Response Page - Rothschild  Interview -      

These comments are responses to the questions listed below,
which were generated in regard to the
Steve Rothschild  Interview of 

The Questions:

On a scale of (0) most disagreement , to (5) neutral, to (10) most agreement, what is your view on the following:

1.  _9.2 average response____ Redesigned jobs programs will be much more effective if they focus on helping people get out of poverty rather than just helping people get off welfare. 

2.  _9.0 average response_____  Government contracting, a form of  redesign, should result in contracts that compensate job training organizations for outcomes--seeing that individuals obtain and hold jobs with living wages--rather than outputs, such as completing job training.

3. _9.3 average response_____  Job training programs should include not only skill training but the methods that help individuals change long-held beliefs about what is possible in their lives.

4.  Comments? __________________________________________________ 

Mark Ritchie

Now that's hopeful; thanks.

Ken Smart (8) (10) (6)

Outcomes should be based on jobs with living wages outside government - putting more people into government  jobs is just another form of welfare and will create an even larger structural spend/revenue in-balance in the state of Minnesota.

Ray Cox (10) (5) (10)

While I certainly like and support compensation for outputs it seems this might lead to entire new levels of programs to continually measure and see if people are actually holding jobs. I think the stated goal is a good one---stop measuring how many tons of food you are distributing and start telling us how many people you properly trained and moved off the food shelf life.

Brent Olson (10) (10) (10)

If you look at the statistics, by ethnic group, immigrants always do better financially than people who have lived here for generations.  It is vitally important for everyone, (including consumers) to change the culture of entitlement.

Mina Harrigan (10) (10) (10)

Diane Flynn (10) (10) (10)

Excellent summary---great program

Jan Hively (10) (10) (10)

Question 1:  The kind of comprehensive approach required to get  people out of poverty was initiated mid-80s by Project Self Sufficiency (housing, child care, employment training, health care access, and job placement for single parents) and reinforced in the '90s by TANF. During the past decade, however, with cuts in funding for child care, county workers providing oversight, etc. there is no longer a system. 

Question 2: In my recent experience (now completing a contract between SHiFT, workforce centers and DEED), the Workforce Incentive Act as well as other federal legislation does require outcomes rather than outputs.  (85% of program participants must be placed in ongoing employment with a living wage.)

Michael Weber (10) (10) (10)

What Mr. Rothschild and the Civic Caucus is doing follows precisely what Jesus's message was: listen to the real needs of the poor and instead of showing your concern for them by giving a temporary handout give them your time to understand what their real needs are

Don Anderson (10) (10) (10)

Excellent presentation.

Dale Fairbanks (yes) (yes) (yes)

The old adage about doing the same thing tomorrow that we did today, while expecting different results applies to this scenario.

Bill Hamm (8) (0) (10)

Question 1:  Although this is a no brainer and should be a 10, turning the problem back over to the same idiots who created it is going to give it an 8 at best in effectiveness.

Question 2:  Since when is "Government Contracting" a form of redesign? Government contracting is about getting the chore done that is all it is suppose to do, retraining is a totally different issue. What kind of soup you cookin here? Very poor wording, very unclear where you were trying to take this. 

Question 3: Retraining camps like the CCC need to be set up to deal with the invasive species issue. By using the same kind of retraining programs that the original CCC camps used we can accomplish all your trying to do. Teach them how to work by working, educate them while they are not working, and keep them out of the ghetto while you’re doing this so they don't relapse.

In question 3 you’re hitting on the long held attitude issues that should be being dealt with in the school system but are not. Unlike any other ethnic group in America the generationally poor inner city blacks in America have an anti attitude about education and participation in education (considering it the white man’s way of trying to control them). You are now proposing that we forget this problem and just wait till they come out of prison to retrain them at much greater expense then. If you don't turn this anti-education attitude around in our inner city schools we will keep throwing away money trying to correct this problem after the fact forever. This situation is a clear example of the old adage: If you teach a man to fish you have given him the knowledge to sustain himself, if you give a man a fish you have made him a beggar because he will have to come back again tomorrow or starve. It is long past time we started requiring provable results from education and so called retraining efforts in our black ghettos, address the bad attitudes when they are young or you have lost the game.

Ann Berget (5) (10) (10)

Question 1:   Both are valuable. For some, getting off welfare will be enough to start changing their belief systems. For others, more coaching will be necessary. Also: One of the hooks to welfare dependence has always been access to medical care. This link should be broken, so that people can take modest, but respectable employment (that may not provide health insurance) w/o losing access to health care. 

Shane Belding (7) (7) (7)

The ability to change generationally held beliefs is a subjective science that cannot be measured, that takes place in the soul of the individual. The motivating factors for one’s change are varied.

Kim Salisbury (6) (6) (10)

I agree that everybody wins when jobs programs are redesigned for outcomes. However, my sense is that changing a person's belief system may take a long time. A lifetime? Two solid years of therapy? What are the most successful therapies for changing one's mindset and what are those outcomes?

Steve Rothschild (10) (10) (10)

Rothschild makes good sense about outcomes. Applied to my field of education, we should be measuring the outcomes of how well students become responsible citizens, productive workers and lifelong learners rather than just school test scores and graduation rates.

Joe Mansky (10) (10) (10)

Chuck Slocum (10) (10) (10)

I appreciate Mr. Rothschild’s insights based on his extensive top level management and strategic experiences.  I appreciate his tough minded but passionate worldview concerning the development of RISE. The notion that a person’s self-perception can be altered and that knowing the marketplace is something important not just to business are but two good examples.  For all of us to move ahead, we need to concentrate especially on the economic self-sufficiency of those with the greatest challenges.

Don Fraser (9) (8) (10)

An excellent session.

Charles Lutz (9) (9) (10)

Carolyn Ring (10) (10) (10)

Bob White (10) (10 (6)

The 10s reflect my bias as a long-time admirer of what Steve has been accomplishing.  The 6 reflects the likelihood that many trainees already have positive outlooks and that their current job skills don't match the needs of the job market.

Scott Halstead (10 (10) (10)

Contracting out the metro transit operations would reduce operating and maintenance costs, allow enlarging service area and ridership and provide additional jobs.

Dan Schultz (10) (10) (10)

Rick Krueger (10) (10) (10)

Although Steve Rothschild has experience in addressing urban and minority populations in poverty, I tend to agree with a lot of what Steve stated.  My former legislative district included parts or all of the 3 poorest counties in the state (average income being approximately half the state average).  From what I have seen, rural poverty is at least as severe of a problem as urban.  It also tends to be more generational and more ‘invisible’ with even less support mechanisms available.

Chris Stedman (10) (10) (10)

Paul Hauge (10) (10) (9)

Peter Heegaard (10) (10) (10)

We need more longitudinal studies to track these great results. The state won't even update for me the basic chart that shows the benefits to the taxpayer as people work their way off of welfare and on to self-sufficiency. We should discuss this more as I am more than a little upset with the Dept of Human Services who does this work.

Al Quie (10) (10) (10)

Clarence Shallbetter (9) (10) (8)

Bright Dornblaser (10) (10) (10)

This report stimulated a re-read of the CC statement on redesign in which I did not find outcomes mentioned altho implied  Yes, changing how to arrive at results is fundamental, needing Out of the Box thinking as well as changing the inbox processes mentioned in the draft statement.  But clarity on outcomes and their measurement would be a useful addition to the statement.  It was implied in the Met Council example but only implied, not highlighted as a vital component of redesign.

Chris Brazelton (10) (8) (10)

Question 2:  The only drawback is that this creates a disincentive for working with hardcore challenging populations, but perhaps certain types of programming just isn't going to work for
these populations (i.e. mentally disabled).

Tom Swain (10) (10) (10)

Rothschild is right on.

Jim Keller (5) (8) (2)

I don't feel you can expect a single program to teach a new skill and change the culture of the individual. Some are sufficiently motivated, that a new skill will take them out of poverty; others need "social development" to remove them from the poverty culture. I see this as something removed from job training.

Bert Press (10) (10) (10)

Vici Oshiro (10) (10) (10)
Right on!  But this is another example of needing to invest in the short term to get better long term results - a hard sell at budget time.  Are comments on lack of creativity and initiative among government workers based on fact or perception?  I suspect some state employees understand issues very well.  Are they able to implement work toward long term benefits?  If not, how does Legislature encourage flexibility?

Robert J. Brown (10) (10) (10)

Dick Angevine (8) (8) (8)

Ray Ayotte (10) (10) (8)

Dave Hutcheson (6) (4) (10)

The distinction between “situational” and “generational” poverty is a very legitimate and useful one.   However, the line isn’t clearly drawn in most cases.   Most people in poverty are not exclusively one or the other, but hold some combination of both kinds of attitudes. Certainly, one can’t conclude that everyone who comes from several generations of American descent and is still poor is a pure case of “generational poverty”.

The hardest cases need the most help, and need in general more investment of scarce resources (know-how & attention as well as money) to produce a desirable outcome.    The tough part is that resources are never unlimited, and the logic of Mr. Rothschild’s argument calls on us
to direct these scarce resources away from people who need them less, and will therefore do better with fewer resources, and toward people who will offer satisfying outcomes only with significantly larger investment.

There is experience of some really fine accomplishment here, but the recommendations for state policy don't quite satisfy.   It may well be that as a result of good education now, some man will be a high-earning taxpayer in years six through twenty instead of serving expensive prison time, but if there are generally recognized ways of measuring that kind of ROI, I need to learn about them.  The startup programs that are initially successful, but then struggle to reach sufficient
scale, may well have exhausted the pool of promising clients for what they have to offer.   The "billions of new investment dollars" sounds wildly optimistic.   I'm suspicious of government programs in this field, but very enthusiastic about what TCR! does.   (The state already has a constitutional first priority to do right by these folks before they are eighteen.)

The national strategy for TCR! which involves sharing knowledge with other organizations already working sounds appropriate and very commendable.

Lyall Schwarzkopf  (10) (10) (9)

Very good information.


The Civic Caucus   is a non-partisan, tax-exempt educational organization.   The Core participants include persons of varying political persuasions, reflecting years of leadership in politics and business. Click here  to see a short personal background of each.

   Verne C. Johnson, chair;  David Broden, Charles Clay, Marianne Curry, Bill Frenzel, Paul Gilje,  Jim Hetland,  Marina Lyon, Joe Mansky, John Mooty,  Jim Olson,  and Wayne Popham 

The Civic Caucus, 01-01-2008
8301 Creekside Circle #920,   Bloomington, MN 55437.
Verne C. Johnson, chair, 952-835-4549,       Paul A. Gilje, coordinator, 952-890-5220.

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