Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Political Science

First Advisor

William L. Waugh, Jr. - Chair

Second Advisor

Allison Calhoun Brown

Third Advisor

Peter Lindsay


The "work first" philosophy of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act sent millions of people into the labor force, many for the first time. The result was a dramatic increase in the number of workers whose earnings failed to pull them and their families out of poverty. Assistance in the form of childcare, transportation, medical coverage, and the Earned Income Tax Credit is beginning to receive attention as support mechanisms for people who do not earn adequate wages and receive little benefits from their employers. This study examines the effectiveness of Georgia's approach to providing work support programs to its working poor citizens. No single entity is responsible for making work supports accessible. Thus, services often go underutilized because those who might qualify are not aware of their potential eligibility. Further, there is no state level strategy for ensuring that wage advancement is considered by agencies providing work support services. Using client administrative wage data from the Georgia Department of Labor and qualitative interviews from program staff, the state's structure for assisting the working poor is examined.