Evaluating Two Approaches to Case Management: Implementation, Participation Patterns, Costs, and Three-Year Impacts of the Columbus Welfare-to-Work Program. Receipt of Education Credentials


The survey asked sample members whether they had received any education credentials during the two years since they entered the evaluation. (Results for this question are not presented in a table.) About 4 percent of control group members without a high school diploma or GED certificate at study entry reported that they had received a diploma or GED during the two years; 13 percent of the traditional group nongraduates reported that they received a diploma or GED after entering the evaluation. (Nine percent of integrated group nongraduates reported receiving such a credential, but the 5 percentage-point impact was not statistically significant.)(16) Like most welfare-to-work programs studied, neither program in Columbus increased receipt of a trade certificate, an associate's degree, or a bachelor's degree.

The client survey may not capture the full effect of the programs on receipt of educational credentials. Some sample members may not have received a credential until the third year following random assignment or later. These later effects will not be measured in the evaluation.


1.  Case files were reviewed for 225 integrated group members and 218 traditional group members. Initially, 225 traditional cases were randomly selected for review but seven cases had to be dropped because of missing documentation or because they had become employed by the county and their files were marked confidential.

2.  The survey sample includes 1,094 sample members (371 integrated group members, 366 traditional group members, and 357 control group members).

3.  In the integrated program, 81 percent attended orientation within six months of random assignment; in the traditional program, 50 percent attended within six months. Six-month orientation attendance rates in other programs that MDRC has studied range from 63 to 71 percent. (Some of the participation numbers presented in this chapter differ slightly from those presented in Brock and Harknett, 1998a and 1998b, owing to small differences in data analysis decisions.)

4.  Sample members in the integrated program were sent an orientation scheduling letter an average of 24 days after being referred from the income maintenance office compared with an average of 64 days in the traditional program.

5.  Integrated case managers contacted those who missed an orientation session, on average, 1.4 weeks after the session compared with 2.2 weeks for traditional JOBS case managers. Integrated staff contacted people who did not attend orientation within six months of the initial referral an average of three times compared with two times for traditional staff. Moreover, 16 percent of traditional JOBS case managers reported that they would never follow up with a client who had not attended an orientation session compared with only 5 percent of integrated case managers.

6.  The two panels of Table 3.1 present findings for different samples and follow-up periods. The upper panel presents findings for the full case file sample in each program and tracks activity for two years following random assignment. The lower panel presents findings for a subgroup of the full case file sample: those who attended orientation for whom at least two years of data following orientation were available. The lower panel represents 80 percent of the orientation attenders in the integrated program and 63 percent of the orientation attenders in the traditional program.

7.  For example, two-year participation rates in the other NEWWS Evaluation programs range from 44 to 74 percent. (The participation rate in the Oklahoma City program is not included in this range because the sample is not comparable.) See the following reports for findings based on case file data for the other NEWWS programs: Hamilton et al., 1997; Scrivener et al., 1998; Storto et al., 2000.

8.  The average length of stay was 4.6 months in the LFA programs and 7.8 months in the HCD programs (see Hamilton et al., 1997).

9.  For example, for a family of three, a sanction resulted in a $62, or 18 percent, reduction in a monthly grant of $341. The first time someone was noncompliant, the sanction would remain in effect until she participated as required; the second time, for a minimum of three months; and the third time, for a minimum of six months.

10.  The rates include sanctions imposed for failure to attend JOBS orientation and for failure to attend post-orientation activities; thus, they are not directly comparable to rates that capture only sanctions imposed for failure to attend post-orientation activities.

11.  Since month 1 represents the month of random assignment and thus a partial JOBS month, the figure starts with month 2.

12.  The integrated program left 70 percent of mandatory time uncovered, and the traditional program left 78 percent uncovered. The other programs in the evaluation left between 32 and 71 percent of sample members' mandatory months uncovered.

13. Some statistical adjustments were made in Table 3.4 (and Table 3.5), based on information found in the JOBS case files, to take into account recall error in the client survey data. Similar analyses were conducted for the other NEWWS programs (see Hamilton et al., 1997; Scrivener et al., 1998; Storto et al., 2000). Appendix Table B.4 presents the differences between the integrated, traditional, and control group participation levels using survey data without adjusting for recall error. Some numbers in Appendix Table B.4 differ slightly from those presented in Freedman et al., 2000, because the present analysis considers only sample members for whom the length of participation could be calculated (survey respondents were excluded from the present analysis if they reported an activity end date that preceded the reported activity start date).

14.  The integrated program increased participation in post-secondary education by 16 percentage points, and the traditional program by 13 percentage points; the largest increase in post-secondary education participation for high school graduates in the other NEWWS Evaluation programs was only 8 percentage points.

15.  Increases in participation in basic education for nongraduates in the three HCD programs studied in the NEWWS Evaluation ranged from 43 to 57 percentage points.

16.  For more detail on the programs' impacts on educational attainment, see Chapter 4 in Freedman et al., 2000.