Early Implementation of the Welfare-to-Work Grants Program: Report to Congress. Expected Characteristics of WtW Participants

The demographic characteristics of the population WtW grantees expect to serve reflect the aims of the program.7  For example, respondents expect most WtW participants to be women between ages 20 and 40, which is consistent with the focus of the program on TANF recipients (Table C.4).  Congruent with WtW's eligibility rules and many grantees' efforts to recruit noncustodial parents, men are expected to account for about 20 percent of WtW participants.

Other dimensions of the projected caseload composition may reflect not only the national composition of the potentially eligible TANF population, but also the particular locations of grantee organizations and the traditional roles they have played in their local communities.  Overall, the projected caseload across all survey respondents is roughly 52 percent white and 41 percent African American (Table C.4).

As might be expected given the diversity of residential neighborhoods, some grantees will serve populations that are predominantly from one demographic group or another.  About 36 percent of responding grantees said they expected more than 70 percent of their WtW clients to be white, and 16 percent expect to serve a predominantly black caseload (not shown in table).  Organizations with a predominantly Hispanic or Latino clientele represented less than 10 percent of survey respondents (not shown), although 27 percent of all participants are expected to be Hispanic or Latino.

Although the grantee survey did not ask questions about the urbanicity of WtW target areas or populations, it is clear that most participants will be urban residents.  An analysis of the SDAs for WtW grantees that are PICs, WDBs, or equivalent entities shows that only about one percent of PICs/WDBs in the overall grantee survey sample primarily serve counties with rural populations.  In contrast, 60 percent serve metropolitan areas with populations greater than 250,000.




Characteristic Percentagea
Male 18.8
Female 81.2
American Indian/Alaska Native 3.7
Asian 3.3
Black/African American 40.5
Native Hawaiian/Other Pacific Islander 0.8
White 51.7
Hispanic or Latino 27.4
Not Hispanic or Latino 72.6
Under 20 11.2
20 to 24 22.7
25 to 40 51.3
Over 40 14.7
Source:  National Evaluation of the Welfare­to­Work Grants Program, First Grantee Survey (November 1998­February 1999).

a Estimate based on projected percentages reported by responding grantees, weighted by their projected total enrollment.  Categories may not sum to 100 percent due to data rounding.

b The grantee survey sample does not include tribal WtW programs.  Thus, projected enrollment of American Indians and Alaska Natives in the WtW initiative overall is underestimated.



1.  In program year 1996, for example, PICs on average reported that 34 percent of their terminees were AFDC recipients and 39 percent received some form of cash welfare assistance.

2.  Serving individuals who would fall in the WtW population has been less common for PICs than serving welfare recipients in general.  Analysis of JTPA program year 1996 data from the Standardized Program Information Reports suggests that individuals with approximately the characteristics that would qualify them for WtW services made up only about a third of the Title IIA program terminees who were AFDC recipients.  For almost half of all PICs, this more disadvantaged population made up less than 10 percent of their terminees.

3.  The criteria listed included (1) legislated eligibility factors for the "70 percent group" (no high school diploma or GED and low skills; poor work history; substance abuse; nearing or past TANF time limit; long­term welfare receipt; noncustodial parent), as well as other factors that could be used to identify individuals with high risk of long­term welfare receipt (teenage parents; public housing residents; people with disabilities; school dropouts).

4.  It is possible that grantees that have received both formula and competitive grants are also targeting their use of competitive funding to specific subgroups.  Their survey responses pertain to their overall use of targeting criteria, however, so their particular strategies for targeting one component of their program strategy may be obscured.

5.  Some PICs may describe recruiting from the JTPA intake/assessment process as recruiting from their own existing caseload.

6.  The Administration's current proposal to renew the WtW program includes an increased emphasis on serving noncustodial parents and strengthened links to child support enforcement.

7.  Since program enrollments are in their very early stages, the survey asked grantees for the demographic characteristics of the projected overall caseload, based on knowledge of their local area and its TANF caseload and their own service plans, rather than just for characteristics of people already enrolled.