Before earning his PhD in social welfare at Florida International University (FIU) in 2017, Dr. Joseph attended Florida Atlantic University (FAU) between 2010 and 2012 for undergraduate and graduate studies in social work. He makes “empowerment toward economic self-sufficiency” the central part of his research. After years of working with marginalized populations, Dr. Joseph has identified individual and systemic strengths which can be used to overcome economic challenges faced by low-income households in America. The current American welfare state is fundamentally flawed due to the absence of sustainable support for the poor as they embark on the long and arduous journey toward economic self-sufficiency. It is therefore a “trap” to argue that existing social safety net policies offer a clear economically self-sufficient pathway to disadvantaged individuals and families. Economic self-sufficiency can be reached if (1) able-bodied people cultivate mental fortitude for hard work (empowerment), (2) policymakers ensure better wages and working conditions—including fringe benefits—for low-skilled workers, and (3) the government removes the “benefits cliff” by continuing to support workers who transition from welfare receipt to self-sufficiency.
Research and Teaching Interests
Poverty and social welfare policies, economic self-sufficiency among low-income families, evaluation of program effectiveness, children and youth well-being, theory and scale development, empowerment practice, and social advocacy.