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We Believe America Works

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

Peter Cove, Founder

Peter Cove, social activist and businessman, is one of the nation's leading advocates for private solutions to welfare dependency, ex-offender reentry initiatives and for meeting the needs of underserved, marginalized populations.

For almost 50 years, he has been at the forefront of innovative demonstration projects designed to mitigate poverty by promoting jobs as a solution to welfare dependency. Mr. Cove began his career in the mid-Sixties, as the nation's conscience turned to poverty issues impacting all populations groups.

After holding key posts in New York City municipal government, he worked for The Community Action Agency in Boston, where he developed grass-roots health, housing and education programs. Later he served as a consultant with Manpower Assistance Project, Inc., a private company partially funded by the Ford Foundation to create community employment systems. He was also a program officer at the New World Foundation in New York City, funding innovative programs in civil rights and education.

With a developing expertise in jobs creation as the solution to social imbalances, Mr. Cove became Director of the Manhattan Project for Wildcat Service Corp., a program geared to the hard-core unemployable. From 1976 to 1983, he was President of Transitional Employment Enterprises. Inc., a private corporation that specialized in placing welfare recipients, those with mental illness and the physically and learning disabled in jobs. In experimenting with alternate approaches to training, he created millions of dollars' worth of private-sector investment for what would otherwise have been a fully government-funded endeavor.

As the founder of America Works in 1984, Mr. Cove has worked to link private-sector investment and employment with welfare reform. Mr. Cove has also devoted his energy to prisoner reentry initiatives, advocating tirelessly for second chance legislation on a national level, to inform policy makers that the work first model of services is the answer for successful reintegration of ex-offenders into communities.

In 2005, Mr. Cove founded the Work First Foundation, devoted to sponsoring projects that offer job opportunities for the underserved, including the untrained and employed worker, displaced worker, refugees, ex-offenders, or any other individual with barriers to employment; advancing their knowledge of and access to the world of work; assisting others to promote these ends, including studying issues leading to economic and social disadvantage. 

In founding both America Works and the Work First Foundation, Mr. Cove fully developed the concept of the privatization of welfare-to-work programs and has become the spokesperson and business developer for this, and other causes devoted to the underserved. Mr. Cove has appeared on national television and has been quoted in major newspapers, business and public affairs publications. He has testified on aspects of unemployment before Congressional committees in the House and Senate.

In 1995 The Entrepreneur of The Year Institute gave Mr. Cove its distinguished Socially Responsible Entrepreneur of The Year award for his achievements with America Works. Born in 1940, Mr. Cove holds a BA in sociology from Northeastern University. He is married to Dr. Lee Bowes, Chief Executive Officer of America Works. Mr. Cove is the father of five children and lives in New York City.

Peter Cove has been published in the New York Post, Real Clear Policy, the Huffington Post, the Times Union of Albany, and elsewhere. 

Check out Peter Cove's latest articles and books: 

Poor No More: Rethinking Dependency and the War on Poverty

Let's Trade Prison Beds for Work

Dependency: Learning from the Danish Welfare Experiment

Mutations of the Mind

Peter Cove on "What America Thinks"

Work, Two Popes and Freud

Work: The Only Solution to Poverty

We're Facing a Moral Cliff

What I Learned in the Poverty War

Peter Cove on the Colbert Report


  • 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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