The Evaluation of the Tribal Welfare-to-Work Grants Program: Initial Implementation Findings. WtW Programs Can Help Support the Economic Development Efforts of Tribes

01/29/2005

Perhaps the most critical hurdle WtW program operators face is finding well-paying career jobs into which WtW participants can be placed. Unfortunately, WtW administrators can do little directly to stimulate economic development on their reservations. The main goal of their activities should be to provide a full range of high-quality, efficiently delivered WtW services and to prepare participants as well as possible for the jobs that do exist on and off the reservation. To support the economic development efforts of the tribe, WtW administrators and staff can carefully document the available pool of TANF/WtW participants, their existing skill levels, and how such individuals' skills could be upgraded to meet new employers' needs. Such documentation of available labor (in what until very recently has been a time of very low unemployment in many localities across the country), and having a plan for upgrading skills, could help bring new employers to the reservation or nearby towns. As discussed in the following section, identification of strategies to overcome barriers to business and economic development will be the focus of the next step in the tribal evaluation.