Costs of Mandatory Education and Training Programs for Teenage Parents on Welfare: Lessons from the Teenage Parent Demonstration. Workshops


Two general types of workshops were offered:  initial workshops and ongoing workshops.  Each new participant was required to attend a series of initial workshops, which ranged in length from just three days in Chicago to four to five weeks in Camden and several months in Newark.  The workshops covered topics that program staff judged to be important for all new program participants:

  • Motivation and self-esteem,
  • The world of work,
  • Life skills,
  • Family planning and parenting,
  • Health and nutrition,
  • Child support and child support enforcement,
  • AIDS and drug/substance abuse, and
  • Personal grooming.(4) 

The sites also offered some "ongoing" workshops for active participants who had completed the initial workshops and may have already been involved in other program activities.  These workshops were for selected participants in particular circumstances.  The Newark site ran a special parenting workshop intended to provide intensive help for participants deemed at high risk of neglecting or abusing their children.  All three sites conducted pre-employment workshops or job clubs for participants preparing to enter the labor market for permanent full-time or part-time jobs or summer employment.  The Chicago site offered a three-session workshop for participants who were about to enroll or reenroll in high school or other education, or who were having difficulty in school, to help them strengthen their study skills and work habits.  The Chicago program also conducted workshops for active participants on home and life management skills. 

Workshops were led by both in-house program staff and outside experts.  In Chicago, case managers were responsible for all of the initial workshops offered over a three-day period after intake, but staff from other organizations such as the Department of Employment Security, the Sexual Assault Alliance, the University of Illinois Extension Service, and a local medical center contributed staff for ongoing workshops.  At the New Jersey sites, selected case managers devoted a portion of their time to leading some initial workshops, but most initial and all ongoing workshops were led by staff from other organizations.  In some instances these outside staff were provided by the organizations under contract for specified fees, and in others staff time was donated.  Staff who participated in leading workshops in the New Jersey sites were from organizations like the county extension services, Planned Parenthood, the State Department of Personnel, the local child support enforcement offices, a local medical center, and a local non-profit organization devoted to promoting self-esteem and good grooming.