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We Believe America Works

America Works connects job seekers and employers to create productive and long lasting relationships. 

What We Do

America Works lifts people out of poverty using its unique brand of intensive, personalized employment services. Called "a company with a conscience," it was founded in 1984 by social activist and entrepreneur Peter Cove, a Boston native who wanted to put his ideals about poverty and the American dream into practice.

Since then, this private workforce development firm has found jobs for about 300,000 hard-to-place workers, including military veterans, long-term welfare and food stamp recipients, people who are homeless and living in shelters, youths aging out of foster care, non-custodial parents, people living with HIV/AIDS, and people receiving SSI/SSDI.

Peter Cove and America Works' President and Chief Executive Officer Dr. Lee Bowes have become the nation's leading experts on welfare-to-work and prison-to-work social programs. In the early 1990s, they were instrumental in educating Congress about the merits of linking private sector employment with welfare reform. Their efforts contributed to the passage of the 1996 Welfare Reform Act. This bill, passed by a Republican-controlled Congress and signed into law by Pres. Clinton, was meant to "end welfare as we know it."

America Works pioneered performance-based government contracting - a business model that is still not commonly used in the social services field. States and cities pay only when people move from dependency into employment. Most other contractors are paid when clients enroll in their programs, regardless of whether they enter employment.

Today, America Works' guiding principle is the belief that the best way to lift people out of poverty is to help them find jobs - real private-sector jobs. In other words, it believes that work first works best.

This success has earned America Works nationwide recognition. For example, it has received:

National awards for public policy innovation from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University and from the Ford Foundation;

Recognition and awards for its innovative and creative program model from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and the National Welfare-to-Work Partnership;

A special citation from the Department of Employment for the City of New York for achieving 100% of its programs' performance goals; and The Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award.

  • America Works
    in Action

    See how America Works
    changes lives with a special
    focus on U.S. Veterans
  • America Works
    25th Anniversary Pt. I

    Appearances by Peter Cove, Dr. Lee
    Bowes, Mayor Giuliani, Mayor
    Bloomberg, Larry Mone and Robert DeNiro
  • America Works
    25th Anniversary Pt. II

    Appearances by Peter Cove, Dr. Lee
    Bowes, Mayor Giuliani, Mayor
    Bloomberg, Larry Mone and Robert DeNiro


  • I remember when I was a member of America Works, the reps really helped me through rough times and helped me find employment, really nice people. 

    Former Client

  • At two of our most precious vending locations, Citi Field, Home to the New York Mets, and Yankee Stadium, year after year America Works handles all of our staffing needs.

  • America Works was one of the leading organizations that worked on the 1996 Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act, moving national welfare programs from subsistence to back to work programs.

    Newt Gingrich
    U.S. Congress, Speaker of the House
  • America Works played a huge role in keeping my job, without the constant follow up, I may have left. 

    Former Client

  • Our partnership with America Works has also reduced staff turnover.

    Five Guys Burgers and Fries
  • There was some controversy about the idea that it was for profit, I thought it was a very good idea. It seems probably to be the key ingredient that would make it more accountable.

    Rudy Giuliani
    New York City Mayor
  • I was in doubt that America Works was truly going to be able to help me, but I am happy they proved me wrong. Now I know that if I were to ever lose my position I will be able to use my skills to get back on my feet. 

    Former Client

  • America Works is the number one vendor for employment needs based on the quality of their screening process.

    Century 21 Department Stores
  • America Works provides excellent employment placement and retention services to our veterans.

    Danny K. Davis
    U.S. Congress, Illinois

  • I am extremely grateful to the America Works staff for assisting me with interview preparation, helping me with my communication skills, and their continued support throughout my employment.

    Former Client
  • America Works has an impressive track record of success in placing individuals into entry level positions with on the job training that gives them a grounding in their chosen career field.

    Allied Barton
  • Oakland has a very high number of residents returning from prison weekly and it is essential that we get them into a productive lifestyle quickly upon return. America Works has met that challenge.

    NancyJ. Nadel
    Oakland City Council Member

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