Early Implementation of the Welfare-to-Work Grants Program: Report to Congress. Services and Resource Allocation Emphasize Employment


Consistent with the "work first" thrust of WtW, grantees are emphasizing employment.  They are devoting attention and substantial resources to preparing participants to enter employment, as well as to helping them strengthen their skills so they can advance to better jobs and higher wages.

Preparing participants to enter employment and monitoring their progress and problems rank among the most common uses of grant funds.  Most survey respondents (93 percent) said they will support assessment and/or case management services with their federal WtW funds (Table D.1).  Most also reported plans to provide job readiness and job placement services.  Grantee respondents expect the combination of assessment, case management, job readiness preparation, and job placement to consume about 25 percent of their overall WtW funds.  These functions are a major cost item, probably because they account for much of the staff time that grantees devote to the WtW programs.



Use of Funds Grantees Providing Services with WtW Funds
Projected Share of Overall Federal WtW Funds
Basic Employment Services
Assessment and/or Case Management 92.9 11.2
Job Readiness 83.5 6.6
Job Placementc 82.8 7.5
Participant Work Activities
Unsubsidized Employment 65.6 3.1
Supported Work Activitiesd 91.1 21.7
On­the­job training 75.7 4.9
Work experience program 75.4 7.6
Subsidized employment 60.8 7.7
in the private sector 55.9 4.2
in the public sector 52.2 3.5
Community service 48.6 1.6
Postemployment Services
Postemployment Trainingd 87.1 8.9
Occupational skills 84.3 5.4
Basic skills or ESL education 74.9 3.5
Job Retention Servicesd 86.1 8.8
Counseling 73.2 2.5
Workshops/support groups 61.3 1.5
On­site coaching 59.5 2.3
Mediation with employers to resolve workplace problems 59.2 1.2
Workplace mentors 51.1 1.3
Other Supportive Services
Transportation Assistanced 81.5 7.0
Direct transportation assistance to individuals 69.4 5.2
Transportation contracts or subsidies to transportation providers 48.2 1.8
Child Care Assistanced 62.8 9.2
Direct assistance to individuals 43.5 1.2
Contracts or subsidies to providers 41.9 8.0
Substance Abuse Treatment 50.4 1.8
Mental Health Services 39.2 1.0
Assistance with Other Employment­Related Expenses 71.9 2.0
Program Administration 86.1e 9.6
Source:  National Evaluation of the Welfare­to­Work Grants Program, First Grantee Survey (November 1998­February 1999).

a Percentages are of grantee organizations who reported on the services they would provide with federal WtW funds; they represent 95.2 percent of survey respondents.

b Estimated share is based on grantees' reported percentages, weighted by each grantee's total federal WtW funding received.

c Respondents were asked to distinguish between funds budgeted for job placement services that staff provide and the work activities themselves in which participants are placed.  Some grantees, however, may not have been able to make this distinction, and may have reported the placement function as part of what they had budgeted for work activities.

d The overall percentages shown for supported work, postemployment training, job retention, transportation and child care exceed the percentages shown for each of their component activity or service types because some grantees offer more than one type.

e Although grantees are allowed to devote up to 15 percent of funds to administration, some grantees may have found other resources to cover administrative costs, and be devoting all of their WtW grant to services.

ESL = English as a Second Language

Once participants enter employment activities, grantees can help them improve their skills as a way to advance in employment and approach some measure of stable self­sufficiency.  Most respondents (87 percent) said they will offer postemployment training in basic skills, occupational skills, English as a Second Language (ESL) training, and other such programs.  Most WtW participants will lack a high school credential and have low skills in math or reading, so it is not surprising that about three­quarters of the grantees will support basic skills or ESL education with WtW funds, devoting an estimated 3.5 percent of total spending to such instruction.  However, a larger share of resources (5.4 percent) appears to be going to occupational skills training.  This difference may reflect the higher costs of such training, which often uses more equipment and space than basic skills or ESL classes.

Grantees also devote WtW resources to providing a wide array of job retention services that extend well beyond the examples of postemployment supportive services in the legislation.2  More than half of the survey respondents said they will use WtW funds to support workplace mentors (Table D.1).  In addition, many reported that they will provide counseling services, workshops or support groups for WtW participants, on­site job coaching, and mediation with employers to resolve workplace problems.  An estimated 9 percent of their overall WtW funds are devoted to all such retention services.