In 1998, Amy Valderas was a single mom with three kids, all under the age of seven. She had no work experience, and lived with her sister. So she went to sign up for government assistance. But instead of welfare benefits, she got a job offer.
“I was very hesitant at first,” she says. “Because I was always with my kids, and I was worried about transportation, daycare, all kinds of stuff, you know.”
But she took the job anyway. Soon she was working 12-hour days on the factory floor, and coming in on weekends. She thought about quitting.