Coordination and Integration of Welfare and Workforce Development Systems. Overview of Study Sites


This section provides a brief overview of the sites selected for this study. It includes descriptions of state TANF requirements and relevant local economic and demographic conditions. Table 2 summarizes key administrative and TANF policy features of the six states.

Welfare programs in Missouri are state-administered. The state has a 60 month lifetime time limit for assistance. Clients are expected to be engaged in a work component or activity within the first 24 months. However, this is not restricted to job search or employment  education such as ESL or GED classes counts towards the participation requirement. Mothers may be exempted from TANF work requirements until their youngest child is one year old. Sanctioning tends to be discouraged in the sites included in this study.

  • Kansas City is located in Jackson County. The area has been experiencing a strong economy in recent years with an unemployment rate of approximately 2.5 percent.(3)  Several new employers have moved into the region, and although many "mom and pop" operations have been forced to close in recent years, this influx of larger employers has boosted the economy and created a surplus of employment opportunities.
  • Sedalia is located in Pettis County. The area currently has a good economy, with varied employment opportunities including chicken and pork processing, retail, and small manufacturing companies. Sedalia's unemployment rate is approximately 4 percent.

Ohio's welfare programs are county-administered. While benefit levels and time limits are set by the state, counties have considerable latitude in setting other policies. TANF recipients are allowed 36 months on TANF assistance and must remain off assistance for 24 months before becoming eligible for an additional 24 months of benefits. The state has a work attachment emphasis; adults are required to participate in work-related activities to receive TANF assistance.

Table 2:
Key State Administrative and Policy Features
Feature State
Missouri Ohio Oregon Pennsylvania Rhode Island South Carolina
TANF Administration State- administered County- administered State- administered (with local flexibility) State- administered (with reg. variations in benefit levels) State- administered State- administered (with some local flexibility)
WtW Administration Department of Economic Development N/A  State did not apply for formula WtW funds Department of Human Resources Department of Labor and Industry Department of Labor and Training Employment Security Commission
TANF Time Limits 60 months; must be in work component within 24 months 36 months; 24 months off before eligible for an additional 24 months 24 out of 84 months(4) 60 months; must be working or in work activity within 24 months 60 months; must be in work component within 24 months 24 out of 120 months; 60 month lifetime limit
Work Activity Approach Work attachment emphasis; education (GED, ESL) counts as work activity Work attachment emphasis Work attachment emphasis; 45 day up-front job search and job readiness Work attachment emphasis; education and training count as work activity; focus on work when close to 24 months Education and training count as work activity in first 24 months Work attachment emphasis; up-front job search
Sanction Policy Requires a face-to-face interview; sanctioning is generally discouraged Three tiers:  1 month, 3 month, and 6 month loss of benefits Graduated, with full family sanction if continued noncompliance Partial sanction during first 24 months on TANF; full-family sanction after 24 months Partial sanction until compliance Full family sanction for at least 1 month after compliance for first sanction, but implementation of sanctions has eased
Work Activity Exemptions Until youngest child is 1 year old Until youngest child is 1 year old Until youngest child is 3 months old Until youngest child is 1 year old Until youngest child is 1 year old Until youngest child is 1 year old
State Policy/ Initiatives Regarding Coordination "Caring Communities"  funds local collaboratives; One-Stop Career Centers being implemented State requires TANF recipients to register with ES; implementation of One-Stops varies by county State focus on coordination under JOBS and under welfare reform waivers in 1993 and 1996; One-Stops being implemented Since 1987, JOBS Program  Single Point of Contact (SPOC)  operated through JTPA system; One-Stops being implemented Cross-agency welfare reform implementation planning team meets regularly; One-Stops being phased in State established the Business/Industry Relations Division in Dept. of Social Services; county TANF agencies created Work Force Consultant positions; one-stops being phased in
Caseload Decline(5) Aug. 1996 June 1999 (recipients) 43% 12% 53% 43% 12% 65
4.  In Oregon, individuals are exempted from the time limit if they fully comply with the JOBS program participation requirements.



Mothers may be exempt from the work requirements until their youngest child is one year old. The state has a three-tiered sanction policy that varies by county.

  • Cleveland is located in Cuyahoga County. Cuyahoga County is the largest of eight counties in the Greater Cleveland area. The City of Cleveland, with a population of slightly more than 500,000 is the focal point of the Greater Cleveland area. The economy has shifted in recent years from one reliant on diversified durable goods manufacturing to one that is more services-based. Unemployment is generally low (4 - 5 percent), though there are some pockets of higher unemployment, especially within inner city areas of Cleveland.
  • Dayton is the largest city in Montgomery County. The City of Dayton serves as an employment hub to nearly 35 suburban communities. Although manufacturing has historically been at the heart of Dayton's economic base, the economy has enjoyed sustained growth in the services sector in recent years. Unemployment has been in the 3 - 4 percent range, with many employers facing critical shortages of skilled manpower. The TANF and JTPA agencies in Montgomery County are merged.
  • Painesville is located in Lake County, approximately 10 miles northeast of Cleveland. The county is predominantly suburban with rural pockets. The local economy has been strong with low levels of unemployment (about 4 percent) and a strong demand for workers.

Welfare programs in Oregon are state-administered. However, regions and counties are allowed considerable flexibility in designing and implementing their programs. The state follows a work attachment model; clients are encouraged to enter the workforce as soon as possible. In fact, prior to receiving their cash grants, TANF applicants must participate in a 45-day up-front "assessment period" made up of work search activities, services, and supports. If, during the 45 days, issues are identified that would preclude an applicant from going to work, their TANF case is opened earlier. Mothers can be exempted from the TANF work requirement until their youngest child is three months old. The state has implemented a graduated sanction policy that eventually results in a full-family sanction after three separate instances of noncompliance or if a client remains non-compliant for four or more months.

  • Portland is located in Multnomah County. The region has a strong, broad-based economy with a low unemployment rate of approximately 3 to 4 percent. Northeast Portland is considered inner-city with a high concentration of minority residents and a significantly higher unemployment rate. Portland has a large non-native English speaking population that accesses supportive services.
  • Salem, the state capitol of Oregon, is located in Marion County. The region is currently experiencing a strong economy with unemployment around 5.5 percent. The leading local employer is state government.

Pennsylvania has a state-administered welfare system. However, TANF benefits vary by region. Pennsylvania's welfare policy makes a clear distinction between welfare recipiency during the first 24 months and welfare recipiency after 24 months. During the first 24 months on TANF, all non-exempt recipients not working 20 hours per week must conduct an independent job search for a minimum of 8 weeks. If employment is not found during the 8 week job search, recipients are required to participate in other work-related activities. Work-related activities include job search; job readiness/job preparation programs; subsidized employment; work experience; on-the-job training; community service; or any approved employment and training program. After 24 months on TANF, all recipients must either be working or participating in work-related activities for a combined 35 hours of work and classroom training in order to qualify for cash assistance. Mothers are exempted from work activities until their youngest child is one year old. Adults are subject to a partial sanction during the first 24 months on assistance. Recipients are subject to full-family sanctions after 24 months on cash assistance.

  • Beaver County is located in the Pittsburgh Consolidated Metropolitan Statistical Area. It is mainly an industrial and urban community with rural pockets. The area's population is predominantly white and there is a high proportion of elderly residents, fueling strong demand for Certified Nurse Aides. Beaver County has no central city; the population is clustered in several centers through the county. Until the early 1980s, the economy was largely dependent on the steel industry, but now it is much more diversified. The unemployment rate is approximately 4 percent, with the majority of new jobs in manufacturing and customer service.
  • The city of Pittsburgh is surrounded by Allegheny County in southwestern Pennsylvania. The area has been experiencing a strong economy in recent years with an unemployment rate of approximately 4 percent. Stable industries, such as the primary metals and health services industries, account for a 16 percent share of the region's workforce, and have helped spawn the growing robotics, biomedical, and information technologies industries in the region. As in Beaver County, there is a high proportion of elderly residents in Pittsburgh and surrounding Allegheny County, fueling strong demand for Certified Nurse Aides. Pittsburgh also has a very active and generous philanthropic community.

Welfare programs in Rhode Island are state-administered. The state has a five-year time limit for adults; children can continue to receive assistance after the adult reaches the time limit. Adults receive an automatic extension if they "play by the rules." During the first two years on TANF, individuals have considerable choice regarding which activities they participate in; an emphasis is placed on education and training options. Individuals may be exempted from the work requirements until their youngest child is one year old. The state imposes a partial sanction until the client is in compliance.

  • Providence, like most of Rhode Island, has a very robust economy with an unemployment rate of approximately 3 percent. The TANF caseload is racially diverse  approximately one-half are Caucasian, one quarter are Hispanic, and most of the remainder are African-American.

South Carolina has a state-administered welfare system. The TANF program has a time limit of 24 out of 120 months, with a 60 month lifetime limit for assistance. Clients are required to participate in a two-week up-front job search before their application for assistance is approved. Additional work requirements are imposed throughout the 24 months on assistance. Mothers can be exempt from the work requirements until their youngest child is one year old. A recent change in administration has led to a shift in focus from work-first and caseload reductions to child and family well-being. This has resulted in an ease in the implementation of the state's full-family sanction policy.

  • Charleston is located in Charleston County. The county includes two urban areas  Charleston and North Charleston  and a substantial rural area, predominantly on the islands surrounding the city. The local economy depends heavily on seasonal tourism. Local agriculture has diminished greatly in recent years, as has the resulting migrant population. The economy is strong with an unemployment rate around 3.5 percent. Primary employers are in the service sector, including food service, colleges and universities, and hospitals.
  • Manning is located in Clarendon County. The area is very rural and the local economy has been lagging behind the rest of the state. The unemployment rate in July 1999 was 7.7 percent. Primary employers are in the food services, housekeeping, and manufacturing sector. Most jobs require a high school diploma, which poses a problem since 21 percent of the county population has less than a ninth grade education.