We’re 70% to our fall fundraiser goal of 2,000 donations by midnight Friday. Give Now
Chapter 5: Profits and Perverse Incentives
Apr 19, 2023
Season 6 | Episode 5

Chapter 5: Profits and Perverse Incentives

For over 25 years, some states have privatized welfare services. How do these for-profit welfare companies make money?

Antoine Dukes is a natural born salesman. And when he started working for a for-profit welfare company, he figured it was a good way to put his skills to work helping needy Americans find jobs that would get them back on their feet.

But when he tried to avoid sending people to minimum wage jobs, something happened that made him realize that these welfare companies are rewarded with taxpayer dollars for getting welfare recipients into just about any job, even if the job would not support their family and would leave them still needing government help to make ends meet. 

Antoine’s experience is not unique. According to our analysis of government records, for-profit welfare companies rake in millions of taxpayer dollars every year while helping few welfare recipients find jobs that last. Turns out, there’s lots of money to be made regulating the behavior of poor people.

In this episode, host Krissy Cark sheds light on this opaque business model — and has a frank conversation with the founder of America Works, one of the first for-profit welfare-to-work companies in the country. 

The future of this podcast starts with you.

This season of “The Uncertain Hour” tells the unheard stories of real people affected by the welfare-to-work industrial complex.

Stories like these are seldom in the limelight. It takes extensive time and resources to do this type of investigative journalism … to help you understand the complexity of our economy and to hold the powerful to account.

We need your support to keep doing impactful reporting like this.

Become a Marketplace Investor today and stand up for vital, independent journalism.

The team

Krissy Clark Host and Senior Correspondent
Caitlin Esch Senior Producer
Marque Greene Assistant Producer
Grace Rubin Assistant Producer
Michael May Editor
Chris Julin Scoring and Sound Design

The clock is ticking⏳ 

Time is running out to make a gift to Marketplace and help us meet our fall fundraiser goal of 2,000 donations by midnight Friday.