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


Before the evaluation began, the Columbus JOBS program used a traditional case management approach. The creation of the integrated model coincided with an expansion of the JOBS program and thus with an increase in staffing. IM workers and traditional JOBS case managers were invited to apply for the integrated positions, and new employees were recruited.

Table 2.2 shows that staff members who were hired for the integrated case management positions had somewhat less experience working for the Columbus welfare agency than traditional JOBS case managers and had less prior experience in an employment-related field. More integrated case managers, however, had at least a bachelor's degree. Integrated case managers, on average, were somewhat younger than other staff. All three types of staff were somewhat older, on average, than the recipients; the average ages of staff ranged from 34 to 42, whereas the average age of sample members was 32. The majority of staff were women, but the proportion of men in the staff was higher than the proportion of men in the study sample. The staff's racial-ethnic make-up was similar to that of the sample members, roughly half white and half black.

Characteristics of Program Staff
Characteristic Integrated Case Managers Traditional JOBS Case Managers IM Workers

Average number of years employed with agency

5.1 7.3 11.1

Average number of years in current position

1.1 1.9 5.4

Percent with prior experience in an employment-related field

22.7 41.0 23.7
Percent with prior experience as a(n):

Caseworker in a WIN or other employment and training programa

0.0 10.3 7.0

JTPA caseworkera

0.0 7.7 5.3

Employment counselor, trainer, or job developera

22.7 33.3 17.5

Percent with prior experience as an IM workera

n/a 54.2 n/a
Highest degree/diploma earned(%)

High school diploma/GED

9.1 2.6 8.9

Some college

13.6 28.2 46.4

Associate's degree

4.6 10.3 11.6

Bachelor's degree or higher

72.7 59.0 33.3

Average age (years)

34.2 41.5 41.0


18.2 31.6 14.3


81.8 68.4 85.7


50.0 44.4 37.3


45.0 44.4 53.6


0.0 2.8 0.0

Native American/Alaskan Native

0.0 0.0 0.0

Asian/Pacific Islander

0.0 2.8 0.9


5.0 5.6 8.2

Sample size

22 39 114

Sources: JOBS, Income Maintenance, and Integrated Staff Activities and Atitudes Surveys.
Notes: Sample sizes for individual measures may vary because of missing values. N/a=not applicable(workers were not asked this question).a Missing responses to these questions were recoded as nagative responses(i.e., no experience).

In general, staff members were committed to their program's case management approach but acknowledged its limitations. Most traditional JOBS case managers said that they preferred to spend all of their time working with recipients on employment-related issues and were not interested in learning income maintenance procedures. They noted, though, that because they could not impose sanctions themselves, it was sometimes difficult to persuade recipients to comply with program participation requirements.

Integrated case managers thought that consolidating income maintenance and JOBS functions was a more efficient approach; they particularly appreciated that they did not need to coordinate with an IM worker to impose or remove sanctions. On the down side, integrated staff noted that completing all of their duties was very demanding. They often had to have separate meetings with recipients to review income maintenance issues and to review JOBS progress because there was too much to cover in one sitting. Many integrated staff members said they wished that they could spend more time on each case.