Fixing to Change: A Best Practices Assessment of One-Stop Job Centers Working With Welfare Recipients. Kenosha County Job Center


Despite the very impressive shared data system for providing client services in the Kenosha County Job Center, we were unable to obtain a sample of client service records that contained even limited client characteristics. Instead, our analysis is based on a series of fourth quarter reports (cumulative) for calendar year 1996. These internal reports are produced quarterly for purposes of Center management, tracking some very basic client characteristics and outcomes for clients with dependents under age 2 years and clients with children between 2-18 years old. All cases are included, including repeat clients. These data are summarized in Table 1. In addition, these reports track the use of different services offered by the One-Stop (summarized in Chart 1).

Table 1
Kenosha County Job Center

All JOBS Age Youngest Dependent Voc
Employed <=29 hours >29 hours FT Job Retained
1 yr >2yr % Wage % Wage 30 days 180days
All JOBS 100% 26.1% 67.8% 5.7% 4.8% 42.7% 12.5% $5.72 30.2% $6.22 100% 26%
Age Youngest Dependent
   1 year 27.8% 100% n.a. 5.1% 4.6% 46.6% 13.6% $5.34 33.1% $5.95 100% 26%
   2-18 years 72.2% n.a. 100% 5.3% 4.9% 41.2% 12.2% $5.82 29.0% $6.30 100% 26%
   White 58.4% 58.9% 58.1% n.a. n.a. 55.3% n.a. n.a. n.a. n.a. n.a. n.a.
   African American 26.7% 26.7% 27.1% n.a. n.a. 30.9% n.a. n.a. n.a. n.a. n.a. n.a.
   Hispanic 14.1% 13.6% 13.9% n.a. n.a. 13.2% n.a. n.a. n.a. n.a. n.a. n.a.
   Asian 0.7% 0.1% 0.7% n.a. n.a. 0.4% n.a. n.a. n.a. n.a. n.a. n.a.
   Native American 0.1% 0.0% 0.1% n.a. n.a. 0.2% n.a. n.a. n.a. n.a. n.a. n.a.
Years of Education
   <12 46.6% 46.8% 47.8% n.a. n.a. n.a. n.a. n.a. n.a. n.a. n.a. n.a.
   12/GED 37.4% 39.3% 37.4% n.a. n.a. n.a. n.a. n.a. n.a. n.a. n.a. n.a.
   13-15 13.2% 12.9% 13.3% n.a. n.a. n.a. n.a. n.a. n.a. n.a. n.a. n.a.
   16+ 1.3% 1.0% 1.5% n.a. n.a. n.a. n.a. n.a. n.a. n.a. n.a. n.a.
Rural 10.7% 10.6% 11.3% n.a. n.a. n.a. n.a. n.a. n.a. n.a. n.a. n.a.

Overall, more than half of the welfare clients served have graduated from high school or have a GED, and about 15 percent have at least one year of higher education or training. More than 40 percent of the Kenosha clients are nonwhite. Key observations about the data from the Kenosha County Job Center include:

  • Age of Youngest Dependent: Fewer than 30 percent of the JOBS participants served by the Center have children younger than 2 years old, indicating that a large majority of clients are not entering the welfare system as the consequence of a pregnancy.(32) There are no significant demographic or educational differences between clients with children under age 2 and those with children over 2 years of age.
  • Vocational Skills Training: Only about 10 percent of clients are referred to specific vocational skills training and about 6 percent are actively participating in the training. Clients with children under age 2 are much more likely to enroll once referred to training than are clients with older children.
  • Work Experience Leading to Employment: Most work experience placements lead to employment, although this is not the most common route to employment. Roughly 5 percent of all clients are placed in community work experience positions leading to employment. These employment results from work experience placements tend to be slightly higher for clients with children over the age of 2 years.
  • Employment: About 43 percent of all clients are employed, and almost three-quarters are employed full time (more than 29 hours per week). Employment rates, both full-time and part-time, are slightly higher for clients with children under 2 years of age.
  • Wages: Wages tend to be about $.50 per hour higher for full-time verses part-time employment, with parents of younger children tending to work for slightly lower wages.
  • Job Retention: Full-time unemployed clients appear to have little difficulty with short-term (30 days) job retention, but may have greater difficulty retaining employment on a long-term (180 days) basis. However, this measure may not accurately reflect actual employment patterns, since the question reflects "retention of full-time placement" employment, and some workers may have changed employers during the interim.

Chart 1
Services:  Kenosha County Job Center

Service Component Referrals* Participants Participation
Service Unit
Motivational Workshop 731 453 62.0% 16.4%
Group Assessment 788 482 61.2% 17.4%
Vocational Exploration 758 380 50.1% 13.7%
Individual Assessment 53 35 66.0% 1.3%
Job Seeking Skills Workshop 162 73 45.1% 2.6%
Job Search 1,262 806 63.9% 29.1%
Community Work Experience 454 161 35.5% 5.8%
Vocational Training 62 62 100.0% 2.2%
Adult Learning Lab 229 208 90.8% 7.5%
BA and BS Degree Programs 18 18 100.0% 0.7%
Other 166 89 53.6% 3.2%
TOTAL 4,683 2,767 59.1% 100.0%

* Includes multiple referrals, note that the number of participants is roughly half of the participation rate.

These data tend to confirm earlier characterizations of the Kenosha County Job Center based on focus group interviews, indicating a strong emphasis on motivation, assessment, and job search with a relatively good track record for short-term employment. Although it is difficult to tell from this data, case managers felt that the difficulty of cases was increasing -- an observation that would be supported by the fact that over 45 percent of JOBS clients had not completed their high school degree or GED.

  • Job Search: Job search accounted for roughly 30 percent of the individual service elements provided to clients; nearly two-thirds of those referred to job search actually participated as shown below.
  • High Use Services: Almost 50 percent of the other service elements provided were divided pretty equally among the motivational workshop, group assessment, and vocational exploration. All of these services are provided in group settings for entering groups of clients. The adult learning lab and community work experience accounted for the next highest service volumes.
  • Individual Assessment and Job Search Skills Workshop: Both of these activities combined accounted for fewer than 5 percent of service volume. Individual assessment was the only service for which there was a significant differential in participation (relative to referrals) between clients with older and younger children; clients with children under age 2 had a much higher participation rate.