They can’t force them to participate and most are not.

Legislators are wringing their hands over a federally mandated $1.1 million welfare-to-work program that even its managers say doesn’t appear to be working.

A legislative committee heard last month that about 20 percent of those eligible for the Food Stamp Employment and Training Program participated last year, and that of the 5,070 people who did participate, just 6 percent — about 300 — got jobs.“You can’t keep pouring money down a rat hole forever,” Rep. LeRoy Daugeau, D-Wynne, said during a meeting of the Performance Evaluation and Expenditure Review Committee.

“You are not having any success with this program, so maybe some evaluation needs to be done,” said Rep. Betty Pickett, D-Conway, adding that while the goal of the program is good, the money needs to be spent more efficiently.The discussion illustrated the problems many lawmakers have with federally mandated and federally funded programs.