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


The original design of this research called for the collection of administrative data from welfare, employment services, and unemployment insurance records to assess the characteristics of welfare participants at different stages in their contact One-Stop services. Specifically, participating One-Stop models were asked to provide three types of data:

  • General Characteristics: General characteristics of the welfare population within the service area of the One-Stop center.
  • Administrative Records: Administrative records for a sample of One-Stop welfare clients referred to the One-Stop during a 12-month period, generally calendar 1996. Records were expected to contain characteristics data (age, number of dependents, education, etc.) along with some measures of the length, type, and/or intensity of services provided, along with data on termination reasons.
  • Unemployment Insurance Records: Unemployment insurance records for the sample of clients for the most recent eight quarters, including industry of employer, wage and salary payments, and hours.

The first and last of these requested data proved to be difficult to gather and/or acquire. In the case of the general characteristics of the welfare population, the sites examined had little or no historical data tracking these measures. Acquisition of unemployment insurance data also proved to be very difficult, due to the lack of data sharing agreements between agencies and their authority to share this information with outside researchers.

Fortunately, the administrative records for some of the sites proved to offer sufficient characteristic, service, termination, and follow-up data to permit some limited, empirical assessment of three of the One-Stop models examined -- Tarrant County, Traverse City, and Bellingham. Records from Iowa simply did not contain enough observations to include in this analysis. Administrative records from Kenosha were quite extensive with regard to the services provided, termination, and follow-up outcomes, but we were not able to match these records with the characteristics of the clients served. As a result, our analysis of Kenosha is limited to that which might be gleaned from the aggregate data contained in quarterly management reports.