Sociology ETDs

Publication Date



Amounts of money spent by the federal government for social welfare measures to end poverty have risen to unprecedented figures during the last decade. One of the developments in this reputed effort to eliminate poverty has been the creation of a number of manpower training programs and coordinating agencies. The agency so designated in Albuquerque, New Mexico, is the Concentrated Employment Program (CEP). During its first year of operation, it experienced a dropout rate of 23 per cent, a figure which leads to the question of why the program is unable to retain a large number of its enrollees long enough to "graduate" them. The methodological basis for this study is Glaser and Strauss' The Discovery of Grounded Theory. In their opinion, the current emphasis in the social sciences on verification and statistical testing stifles theory development and insight. Their alternative is a methodology which does not depend on previously existing theory or on hypotheses but on simultaneously clarifying the problem dealt with and gathering, coding, and analyzing data. The emergent theory is useful for laymen and social scientists alike. In order to answer the question raised about CEP dropouts, two areas of inquiry are utilized. The first is a review of historical data dealing with evolution of the federal government's social welfare and manpower policy. It is found that underlying this policy is a substructure of values which have become institutionalized and are seldom questioned. These values are "rugged individualism" and "laissez faire capitalism." Both create an atmosphere lending itself to business interests rather than to satisfaction for the individual laborer involved. Such historical data prepare the way for the second area of inquiry, that of why trainees drop out of Albuquerque's CEP. Interviews were conducted with CEP dropouts. Analysis of the results indicates that individuals leave the program voluntarily only if their expectations regarding it are not being fulfilled. Women remain in training longer than men, even if expectations are not met, because of the lack of alternatives open to women. Policy implications for CEP in light of these results would suggest need for the program to adjust to enrollees' expectations or vice versa. Problems arise with either choice, and assessment of the choices in terms of the historical values presented are not encouraging.

Degree Name


Level of Degree


Department Name


First Committee Member (Chair)

Joseph Fashing

Second Committee Member

Charles E. Woodhouse

Third Committee Member

Patrick Hayes McNamara



Document Type


Included in

Sociology Commons