The Evaluation of the Tribal Welfare-to-Work Grants Program: Initial Implementation Findings. Postemployment Monitoring and Job Retention Support


All of the tribal WtW grantees in the study provide postemployment or placement support. They monitor employment status, troubleshoot problems that could lead to job loss or return to welfare, and provide support services (especially transportation assistance) needed to maintain employment. All programs dedicate counselors or case managers to follow up regularly with WtW participants placed in jobs. At a minimum, most programs conduct follow-up telephone calls to employed participants monthly for six months following placement to collect data for reporting on outcomes. Usually, client contacts are more frequent--often daily for the first few days after employment starts, then weekly for the first month or two, then gradually tapering off to semi-monthly and monthly. In some cases--particularly where difficulties arise or troubleshooting is needed--program staff visit participants at their homes or at the workplace. Program staff also periodically contact employers by telephone or in person to check on participants' progress and to address workplace problems/issues (for example, conflicts with coworkers/supervisors, absenteeism, poor performance on the job, attitudinal problems) before they lead to job loss.

Tribal WtW programs urge participants to contact program staff if they run into problems in the workplace, at home, or elsewhere. Participants might need support services (for example, help with car repair, child care assistance, or skill upgrading) to maintain employment. Where possible, tribal programs try to link regular receipt of support services during the six-month period following job placement--such as reimbursement for mileage, distribution of transportation passes, or child care--to regular contacts between WtW program staff and the participant. For example, participants might be required to stop by the WtW program office weekly or semi-monthly to obtain reimbursement or vouchers, at which time program staff can quickly check up on the participant's progress and discuss any emerging problems. Alternatively, WtW program staff might stop by periodically (semi-monthly) at the participant's worksite or home to drop off child care or transportation vouchers and, at the same time, pick up a time card showing work hours and wages.

Beyond ongoing case management and support services, tribal WtW programs make a range of education and training services available to help WtW participants retain and advance in their jobs. While all tribal WtW programs make education and training available to individuals as a postemployment service, tribal sites we visited report that they often have few takers for such assistance. Once placed in jobs (especially full-time jobs), WtW participants find that, unless employers provide paid work time for them to attend education or training (for example, work four days and have a fifth day devoted to classroom instruction), they have little additional time available to devote to upgrading skills, given the need to attend to their children and other household responsibilities.

Tribal WtW programs do not regularly provide help with building basic or job-related skills as a postemployment service. When programs do provide such assistance, it is typically through referrals to other education or workforce development agencies. For example, once employed, a WtW participant might attend a basic skills/GED preparation workshop several times a week sponsored by the tribe or by a local educational authority (such as a local school district or a tribal or community college) in a nearby city or town. Tribal WtW programs also help participants secure tuition assistance through WIA/JTPA, Pell Grants, and other tribally sponsored educational programs for short-term job-specific skills training and for longer-term education leading to two-year and (in rarer instances) four-year postsecondary education degrees.