Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Clinton to Tout Plan on Jobs in Visit Here

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Clinton to Tout Plan on Jobs in Visit Here

Article excerpt

President Bill Clinton's visit to Missouri today will include the announcement of a private-sector initiative aimed at finding jobs for people on welfare.

Sources close to the White House said the initiative would be headed by Monsanto Co. Chairman Robert B. Shapiro. He has been asked to assemble a group of corporate CEOs to meet with Clinton several weeks from now to discuss ways of employing the hundreds of thousands of people who face the loss of federal benefits under the welfare law Clinton signed last month.

A Monsanto spokeswoman, Lori Fisher, declined to confirm Shapiro's role but said he would be present today in Kansas City when Clinton addresses the Southern Governors Association. Clinton will be in St. Louis later in the day for a fund-raising dinner and an appearance at the Gateway School. Fisher said Monsanto wanted "to lend support to whatever we can" on the welfare-to-jobs front and that the company would be "encouraging some of our vendors, suppliers and other businesses to join us in the effort." The initiative had its origin at last month's Democratic National Convention in Chicago, when Clinton used part of his speech to address the new welfare law and the importance of business pitching in to make it work. In that speech, Clinton cited his own transition proposals, such as tax breaks for companies that hire welfare recipients and several billion dollars in federal aid to mayors for public-sector jobs. "But the government can only do so much," he said. "The private sector has to provide most of these jobs." Clinton's message came through loud and clear to Monsanto's Shapiro. He placed a conference call to the heads of the company's operating units and told them to come up with ways for Monsanto to play a part. Monsanto officials stress that nothing has been implemented yet and that anything Monsanto does will be of limited scope given the company's reliance, for the most part, on highly skilled labor. …

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