Some Things Change, Some Things Remain the Same: Negotiating Politics, Discourse, and Change in a Job Training Program
job training, nonprofit organizattion, poverty, unemployment
Degree Awarded: Ph.D. Anthropology. American University This dissertation examines the ways in which a nonprofit organization and its job-training program have been shaped by decades of public policy and poverty discourses. This project also examines how training approaches and performance goals are informed by discourses on poverty and unemployment. This project uncovers to what extent cultural, structural and human capital discourses inform training approaches and goals in a post-Keynesian, late-neoliberal landscape and their value in addressing poverty and unemployment. Finally, I examine how various training approaches interact to aid or limit the ability of job training to improve the lives of the poor. Ethnographic methods included participant observation, semi-structured interviews, and documentation review. Results reveal that the job training program relies mainly on cultural and human capital discourses to shape training approaches. Elements of structural discourses also intersect to impact training. Despite the quality of the technical training, the low wages and stressful working conditions of the culinary industry create challenges for program graduates.