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

03/01/1999

The Northwest Michigan JobNet provided us with a sample of 150 cases entering their system between mid-1996 and mid-1997. These data included basic characteristics (excluding years of education and number of dependents), number of services and amount of supplemental cash assistance provided, termination data, and employment, wage and hours data.

In general, the welfare population served by Northwest Michigan JobNet appears to be rural, predominantly white, older than 25 years, with a slightly higher proportion of males than perhaps some other sites. Less than one-third of JobNet clients fell into the target group for potentially difficult and complex cases, including clients with a preceding welfare cases, older children, or less than 24 years of age with no high school degree or work experience.(36)  Key observations based on the data provided by the Northwest Michigan JobNet include:

  • Number of Services: Most JOBS participants, nearly half, received multiple services via JobNet, while roughly 20 percent received no services and the remaining one-third had used one service. Rural clients and older clients tended to receive slightly more services, as well as those clients with preceding welfare cases. The small number of African American clients in the sample received significantly fewer services than the rest -- likely a reflection of their significantly shorter length of participation
  • Orientation Only: In total, about 9 percent of JOBS participants terminated their enrollment after receiving only the orientation to the program. This proportion was at least twice as high for African Americans and for both younger and older clients, especially those younger clients with no high school degree, GED, or work experience. To some degree, this measure reflects those JOBS participants who voluntarily choose not to participate for one reason or another.
  • Termination for Non-Compliance: Just over 10 percent of JOBS participants were terminated for non-compliance. This measure was lower for younger and rural clients, and higher for those with preceding welfare cases, African American clients, and Hispanic clients.
  • Length of Participation: Overall, the average length of participation was 81 days. The relatively small group of African Americans in the sample had much shorter periods of participation, as did a large share of clients under age 19. The group with the lowest share of short JOBS program attachments was that with ages 25 to 39 years. Hispanic clients tended to have disproportionately short and long program stays.
  • Supplemental Assistance: Just over half of all JOBS participants received some form of supplemental grant assistance for auto repairs, transportation, and other incidental assistance. Clients with preceding cases and those clients age 40 or more tended to be more likely to receive this assistance. Total supplemental assistance per client generally averaged between $150 and $315 per recipient, with Hispanic clients receiving the lowest amounts ($38 on average) and older clients receiving the highest ($360 on average).

Table 3
Northwest Michigan JobNet

    Termination Employed Length of Participation Supplemental Assistance
All JOBS Services Orient Only Non-Comply Employ Ave Wage Ave Hrs Shortest Quartile Longest Quartile Ave Days Receive Average
Amount
None Single Multiple
All JOBS 100.0% 19.3% 34.0% 46.7% 8.7% 10.7% 45.3% $ 5.89 31.8 25.3% 25.3% 81.4 52.0% $ 234.78
Female 75.3% 18.6% 36.3% 45.1% 8.0% 10.6% 46.9% $ 5.68 30.5 24.8% 28.3% 84.0 52.2% $ 223.27
Rural 54.7% 23.2% 26.8% 50.0% 11.0% 6.1% 46.3% $ 6.02 32.5 29.3% 20.7% 77.3 46.3% $ 152.77
Target Group
Preceding Case 10.7% 18.8% 25.0% 56.3% 6.3% 18.7% 37.5% $ 5.83 29.8 37.5% 31.3% 79.6 62.5% $ 311.73
Older Children 2.0% * * * * * * * * * * * * *
<24, no HS/Wk Exp 16.7% 32.0% 32.0% 36.0% 20.0% 4.0% 44.0% $ 5.74 33.7 36.0% 24.0% 73.0 44.0% $ 126.48
Race/Ethnicity
White 90.7% 19.1% 33.1% 47.8% 8.1% 10.3% 45.6% $ 5.93 31.9 24.3% 25.7% 82.3 52.2% $ 238.04
African American 4.0% 33.3% 50.0% 16.7% 33.3% 16.7% 16.7% $ 5.50 20.0 50.0% 0.0% 45.8 50.0% $ 312.32
Hispanic 4.0% 16.7% 33.3% 50.0% 0.0% 16.7% 50.0% $ 5.58 36.7 33.3% 33.3% 82.2 50.0% $ 37.88
Native American 1.3% * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Asian 0.0% * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Age
<19 4.7% 42.9% 14.3% 42.9% 28.6% 0.0% 42.9% $ 5.08 28.3 42.9% 28.6% 63.1 42.9% $ 115.07
19-24 32.0% 22.9% 35.4% 41.7% 8.3% 10.4% 37.5% $ 6.00 33.6 29.2% 22.9% 79.7 45.8% $ 215.51
25-39 50.0% 14.7% 38.7% 46.7% 4.0% 12.0% 52.0% $ 5.86 31.3 18.7% 25.3% 86.3 54.7% $ 217.04
40+ 13.3% 20.0% 20.0% 60.0% 20.0% 10.0% 40.0% $ 6.12 31.9 35.0% 30.0% 73.3 60.0% $ 360.66

*  Insufficient cell size for accurate reporting.

  • Employment: Roughly 45 percent of JOBS participants were employed upon termination. Clients in their early 20s and those with preceding welfare cases had slightly lower employment rates, while African American clients had employment rates that were significantly lower. Over half of the clients ages 25 to 39 were employed upon termination.
  • Wages: The average wage for JOBS placements was about $5.90 per hour, with no significant variation in wage rates for different demographic groups other than the average of $5.08 per hour for clients under age 19. Note that this latter average wage is below the federal minimum wage. Younger workers have a slightly lower average hourly wage.
  • Hours: Hours worked by JOBS participants average almost 32 hours per week, with little variation by demographic group, other than African American clients, whose hours average only 20 hours per week.

In interpreting these data, it is useful to remember that both African American and Hispanic categories have very few observations (4 percent of the total for each), and so it is difficult to draw strong conclusions about these observations. Nonetheless, these data do tend to confirm earlier characterizations of the site in terms of the strong local emphasis on a full time work ethic. The low percentage of clients with preceding welfare cases provides a strong contrast with Tarrant County, Texas, where over half of all clients were long term welfare recipients.