Early Implementation of the Welfare-to-Work Grants Program: Findings From Exploratory Site Visits and Review of Program Plans. Federal Funding Has Been Distributed to Programs in 48 States and Territories


Grants have been awarded by DOL in keeping with congressional specification of how to allocate funds. Congress authorized $3 billion for the WtW grants  $1.5 billion for FY 1998 and $1.5 billion for FY 1999. Congress set aside a total of $154 million at the national level for American Indian and Alaska Native programs ($30 million), for various research activities ($24 million), and for performance bonuses for successful states ($100 million). One-quarter of the remaining grant funds were distributed competitively, based on applications submitted to DOL (these are referred to as "competitive grants"). The other three-quarters were allocated to states according to a formula based on each state's share of the national poverty population and number of adults on welfare.

DOL has awarded these grants over an 18-month period, from March 1998 to September 1999 (Table B.1). DOL awarded the first round of formula grants funds beginning in March 1998, followed by three rounds of competitive grants awarded in May 1998, November 1998, and September 1999. Formula funds were awarded to states over a six-month period in 1998 and a six-month period in 1999.

Grant Type/Timing of Award(a) Number of Grants(b) Total Federal Funding
(in Millions)
Formula Grants 94 $1,979.7
FY1998 awarded March-October 1998 48 $1,034.2
FY1999 awarded March-July 1999 46 $ 945.5
Competitive Grants 190 $ 694.0
Awarded May 1998 (Round 1) 51 $ 199.0
Awarded November 1998 (Round 2) 75 $ 273.0
Awarded September 1999 (Round 3) 64 $ 222.0
Total Formula and Competitive Grants as of September 1999 284 $2,673.7
Source:  U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration.

a  Based on date when grant award was announced.

b Includes the 44 states that accepted formula funding for FY 1998, 42 states that accepted formula funding for FY 1999 and the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

WtW grants, now widely distributed, vary in size, as specified in the legislation. WtW grant funds have been distributed to 44 states, plus the District of Columbia and three territories, under either the formula funds for FY 1998 and FY 1999 and the competitive grants (Rounds 1, 2, or 3). (See details in Appendix A). A total of 44 states, plus the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, requested and received WtW formula funds for FY 1998, and 42 states, plus the District of Columbia and the territories, for FY 1999.(6)  The annual formula grant amounts ranged from about $3 million in small states such as New Hampshire and North Dakota to more than $190 million in California. In addition, 190 competitive grants were awarded  51 in the first round, 75 in the second round, and 64 in the recent third round. Competitive grants have ranged from as little as $123,810 for a local program to $12 million for a complex, multistate initiative.