Early Implementation of the Welfare-to-Work Grants Program: Findings From Exploratory Site Visits and Review of Program Plans. PICs and CBOs Are the Main WtW Actors, but Institutional Arrangements Are Complex


PICs are the central players in the WtW grants program system, primarily because of their presumptive role in the formula grants. The funding mechanism specified by legislation requires WtW formula grants to flow to local PICs. As a result, about 90 percent of all SDAs/PICs nationwide are formally involved in the WtW grants program, mainly by administering formula grant funds received from the state agency (Table C.1). Only 64 SDAs/PICs nationwide (about 10 percent of all SDAs/PICs) are not receiving formula or competitive funds directly or as a subgrantee  because they are too small, because DOL approved a state request to designate an alternative local administrator for WtW formula funds, or because the state chose not to receive federal formula funds.(8)

Mix of WtW Funding Number of SDAs/PICs Percent of All SDAs/PICs
Receives WtW Funds 552 89.7
Formula funds only, as subgrantee from state 492 79.9
Formula funds and competitive grantee 38 6.2
Formula funds and subgrantee under a competitive multisite grant 21 3.4
Formula funds and competitive grantee and a sub-grantee under a competitive multisite grant 1 0.2
No competitive funds and no formula funds 64 10.4
SDA does not qualify for $100,000 formula minimum 3 0.5
Formula funds go to an alternate agency 18 2.9
State did not receive FY1998 formula funds 43 7.0
Total Number of SDAs/PICS 616 100
Source:  Review of competitive Round 1 and 2 applications, and FY1998 formula grant plans. National Evaluation of the Welfare-to-Work Grants Program, WtW Grants Application Review Data Base, 1999; and DOL directory of SDAs/PICs in 1998.

PICs/SDAs are also heavily involved in administering competitive grants, accounting for about a third of the competitive grants awarded in Rounds 1 and 2 (Table C.2). PICs/SDAs were eligible, along with other types of organizations, to apply directly to DOL to receive competitive grants, and 41 were awarded their own competitive grants in addition to receiving substate formula funds.

Most competitive grants, however, were awarded not to PICs but to other types of local organizations, most often community organizations. More than a third of the competitive grantees in Rounds 1 and 2 were community action agencies, community development agencies, or other nonprofit community-based organizations or associations. Competitive grants were issued to such organizations as Goodwill Industries, United Way, family services agencies, organizations that serve immigrants and refugees, Catholic Charities, and programs for fathers.


(Rounds 1 and 2)
Type of Entity Total
Community action agencies 7
Community development/economic development agencies 6
Other nonprofit or community-based organizations, associations, or collaboratives 37
Local welfare/TANF agencies 3
Local housing authorities or collaboratives 4
Other city or county agencies 10
Educational institutions 7
For-profit companies (including a tribal enterprise) 5
Labor unions or collaboratives 4
National associations 2
Total competitive grantees 126
Source:  National Evaluation of the Welfare-to-Work Grants Program, WtW Grant Review Database, 1999. Grantees were classified by the evaluation team.

Note:  This table includes grantees awarded under Rounds 1 and 2.

The central role assumed by PICs, however, does not always provide a clear indication of how WtW programs are organizationally related to other programs run by the PIC or to programs administered by other agencies. WtW grant-funded programs at the local level are not always structurally or operationally integrated with JTPA. For example, PICs routinely subcontract out for JTPA service delivery, and many have done so for WtW service provision  sometimes to the same providers that are delivering JTPA services, sometimes to totally separate providers. Similarly, even though WtW grants are administered through the PIC system, some WtW programs actually are integrated with TANF work programs, since some PICs have responsibility for the TANF work program in their communities, serving as contractors to the TANF agency. Thus, PICs are the most prevalent organizational actor in WtW, but their role, and that of other entities, is more complex.

How a PIC structures its WtW grant program often depends on the type of JTPA/WIA structure already in place, and whether the PIC/WIB is responsible for the TANF work program. Two common situations, and the program structure for WtW services that emerges in them, are:

  1. WtW is incorporated into a One-Stop Career Center system.  In some communities, WtW funds are added to JTPA (or WIA), Employment Service, or TANF work program funds to support a single system of employment and training programs, even in advance of the July 2000 WIA required implementation. For example, in Kansas City and Boston, all individuals seeking employment assistance can go to a designated full-service One-Stop Center. WtW funds are merged with other funds to operate the One-Stop Center, and costs of services are covered by appropriate funding sources based on the eligibility characteristics of the individual job seekers and the types of services they receive. Services may be directly by staff in the One-Stop Center or by staff at subcontracted service provider offices. Often there is a mix of "in-house" services and services provided by contractors.
  2. WtW is a separate program operated through service contracts.  In other communities, JTPA operates either totally or primarily through a system of contracted service provider agencies  meaning that no in-house services are provided directly. Not surprisingly, the PICs in these localities also tend to contract out WtW services, which typically results in WtW services being delivered by a set of service providers.

Under both JTPA structures  the One-Stop structure and contracted service delivery  the PIC/WIB may also be responsible for all or part of the TANF work program, usually under a contractual arrangement with the welfare agency. In this case, the WtW grants program and the TANF work program may be integrated, but operate separately from the JTPA/WIA programs. For example, in New York City, the PIC and JTPA programs are not directly involved with WtW. The TANF welfare agency (the Human Resources Administration) has been designated the administrator of the WtW formula funds in the city, and WtW grant-funded programs are highly coordinated with the TANF work program.

Thus, while PICs are the primary recipients of WtW grants, grant-funded WtW programs also involve other agencies and programs. In some places, WtW is linked or even merged with the TANF work program. In some places, the WtW service system is combined with JTPA/WIA; and in some places, all three (TANF, WtW, and JTPA/WIA) are combined. In addition, important roles are also being played by other agencies; most notably, the availability of WtW grants has expanded the role for nonprofit community-based organizations in the welfare-employment arena.