Although the second grantee survey concludes the broad national data collection for the WtW evaluation, some of the issues raised in the two surveys will be pursued further in the evaluation in-depth study sites. Ultimately, a total of 12 to 15 sites will be selected; at the time of this report, 8 have been chosen.(4) With a combination of site visits and followup of participant samples using surveys and administrative data, the evaluation will explore such issues as:
- To what extent do program enrollment levels change over time?
- How do the changes in WtW eligibility rules affect recruiting practices and success? How important are these changes in recruiting particular subgroups of the eligible population, such as noncustodial parents?
- What innovative practices are developed to address labor market conditions and particular target populations?
- What outcomes do participants achieve? How many are placed in jobs? How many achieve sustained employment, and how many advance to higher wages or better jobs?(5)
- To what extent do participants succeed in combining employment activity and pursuit of education or training to improve their skills, as envisioned in the WtW legislation?
- How well do the families of WtW participants fare? Are there changes in family well-being over time?
Evaluation findings on these issues will be issued over the next several years. An interim report on program implementation issues will be issued in winter 2000, with a full report on program implementation in the in-depth study sites to be ready in summer 2001. Early results on outcomes for participants, from follow-up surveys and administrative data, will be issued in mid-2001. Later reports on more extensive followup and the complete evaluation sample will be available in 2002 and 2003.(6)
1. Further information on participation levels and participant outcomes will be obtained later in the evaluation for in-depth study sites. For grantees as a whole across the nation, however, no further comprehensive surveys are planned.
2. With the new eligibility rules taking effect primarily in the middle of 2000, it is to be expected that enrollment difficulties related to the eligibility rules will continue to be reported.
3. The average population density for areas served by grantees that expressed low agreement with the statement on strong employer demand was 422 per square mile, compared to 806 in areas served by grantees expressing moderate agreement, and 942 in areas served by grantees expressing strong agreement.
4. The eight sites selected so far are in Boston, Fort Worth, Milwaukee, Nashville, Philadelphia, Phoenix, a large rural area in West Virginia, and Yakima. In all these sites, samples of participants are being enrolled in an evaluation sample and will be followed for two years.
5. In a few in-depth study sites, it may be possible to implement random assignment and estimate program impacts — the difference programs make in these employment outcomes.
6. The report on the evaluation component focusing on implementation of WtW programs by American Indian and Alaska Native grantees will be issued in fall 2000.