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

06/01/2001

Many welfare recipients take part in education or training activities without the intervention of a welfare-to-work program. For a program to make a difference, it must engage more people than would have volunteered to participate in activities available in the community. In this evaluation, the participation level of the control group represents what happened in the absence of the mandatory welfare-to-work programs. As noted earlier, the participation findings presented in previous sections of this chapter were based on data collected from case files of integrated and traditional group members. This section presents estimates of participation levels based on data collected using a survey that was administered to integrated, traditional, and control group members.

The survey data show that many people participated in employment-related activities on their own, without the intervention of the welfare-to-work programs, but the integrated and traditional programs substantially increased participation levels. As Table 3.4 shows, 11 percent of the control group in Columbus participated in basic education, 10 percent in post-secondary education, and 10 percent in vocational training, all without prompting from a welfare-to-work program.(13) The table also shows the participation levels for the integrated and traditional group members, and the difference in participation between these two groups and the control group. Overall, the table shows that both the integrated and traditional programs increased participation in job search, basic education, post-secondary education, and work experience or on-the-job training. The programs also increased the number of hours spent in activities.

Table 3-4.
Two-Year Impacts on Participation in Job Search, Education, Training, and Work Experience
Outcome Integrated Group Traditional Group Control Group Integrated-Control Difference (Impact) Traditional-Control Difference (Impact)
Participated in (%):

Job searcha

17.3 16.6 3.7 13.6 12.9

Basic education

28.7 27.2 10.7 17.9 16.5

Post-secondary educationb

21.8 18.5 10.2 11.7 8.3

Vocational training

10.9 9.8 9.5 1.3 0.3

Work experience or on-the-job training

14.1 13.1 2.2 12.0 10.9
Hours of participation in:

Job searcha

16.1 26.3 3.1 13.0 23.2

Basic education

104.9 140.9 19.5 85.4 121.4

Post-secondary educationb

131.9 153.4 42.4 89.5 111.0

Vocational training

55.3 79.9 32.9 22.4 47.0

Work experience or on-the-job training

n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a
Hours of participation among participants in :

Job searcha

93.0 158.7 83.6 9.4 75.0

Basic education

365.9 517.7 181.4 184.5 336.3

Post-secondary educationb

603.7 830.5 417.4 186.3 413.2

Vocational training

508.9 814.1 345.9 163.0 468.2

Work experience or on-the-job training

n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a

Simple sizec

371 366 357    

Source: MDRC calculations from the Two-Year Client Survey , ajusted using MDRC-collected case file data.
Notes: Tests of statistical significance were not performed. Estimates are regression-adjusted using ordinary least squares, controlling for pre-random assignment characteristics of sample members. Numbers may not add up to 100 percent because of rounding. N/a= not available or not applicable. Italics are used to signal average outcomes and differences that were calcuated only for participants. Sample sizes for these measures vary. aFor integrated and traditional group members, this measure includes participation in life skills workshops. bCourses for college credit at a two-year or four-year college. cSample sizes for individual measures vary because of missing values.

Table 3.5 presents the programs' effects on participation for high school graduates and nongraduates. As the table shows, both programs substantially increased participation for graduates in job search, post-secondary education, and work experience. The increases in post-secondary education  primarily courses for college credit at a two-year college  are large compared with increases for other programs.(14) For nongraduates, the Columbus programs produced large increases in participation in basic education(15) and small increases in the use of job search services.

Table 3.5
Two-Year Impacts on Participation in Job Search, Education, Training, and Work Experience
by High School Diploma/GED Status
Outcome Integrated Group Traditional Group Control Group Integrated-Control Difference (Impact) Traditional-Control Difference (Impact)
For those with a high school diploma or GED:
Participated in (%):
Job searcha 19.9 22.5 6.0 13.8 16.5

Basic education

7.9 5.3 3.3 4.7 2.0

Post-secondary educationb

30.5 27.4 14.4 16.1 13.0

Vocational training

12.1 11.4 13.9 -1.8 -2.4

Work experience or on-the-job training

19.6 17.8 1.5 18.0 16.3
Hours of participation in:

Job searcha

17.3 36.2 4.6 12.8 31.6

Basic education

22.9 24.3 3.9 19.0 20.4

Post-secondary educationb

181.0 255.4 63.3 117.7 192.1

Vocational training

52.6 120.8 53.0 -0.4 67.8

Work experience or on-the-job training

n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a
Hours of participation among participants in :

Job searcha

87.1 160.4 75.7 11.5 84.7

Basic education

288.9 458.7 119.8 169.1 338.9

Post-secondary educationb

594.0 933.3 440.1 153.9 493.2

Vocational training

434.6 1056.4 381.9 52.8 674.5

Work experience or on-the-job training

n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a

Simple sizec

214 219 211    
For those without a high school diploma or GED:
Participated in (%):

Job searcha

9.5 7.7 0.4 9.2 7.3

Basic education

64.6 63.0 22.7 41.9 40.2

Post-secondary educationb

6.7 6.4 4.4 2.3 2.0

Vocational training

7.1 6.4 4.0 3.1 2.4

Work experience or on-the-job training

15.2 6.2 3.8 11.4 2.4
Hours of participation in:

Job searcha

10.2 11.8 0.3 9.9 11.5

Basic education

245.4 339.4 27.2 218.1 312.2

Post-secondary educationb

51.5 26.9 19.4 32.1 7.5

Vocational training

50.8 28.2 15.4 35.4 12.8

Work experience or on-the-job training

n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a
Hours of participation among participants in :

Job searcha

106.4 153.6 75.7 30.7 77.9

Basic education

379.7 539.1 119.8 259.9 419.3

Post-secondary educationb

766.1 419.0 440.1 326.0 -21.1

Vocational training

713.0 437.1 381.9 331.1 55.3

Work experience or on-the-job training

n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a

Simple sizec

155 146 146    
Sources: MDRC calculations from the Two-Year Client Survey , ajusted using MDRC-collected case file data.
Noes: Tests of statistical significance were not performed. Estimates are regression-adjusted using ordinary least squares, controlling for pre-random assignment characteristics of sample members. Numbers may not add up to 100 percent because of rounding. N/a= not available or not applicable. Italics are used to signal average outcomes and differences that were calculated only for participants. Sample sizes for these measures vary. aFor integrated and traditional group members, this measure includes participation in life skills workshops. bCourses for college credit at a two-year or four-year college.
cSample sizes for individual measures vary because of missing values. In addition, three individuals in the full sample did not indicate whether they had a high school diploma or GED at random assignment. These individuas are excluded from the subgroup analysis.