Further Progress, Persistent Constraints: Findings From a Second Survey of the Welfare-to-Work Grants Program. Grantees Are Less Likely Now to Be Using Other Funds Along with Their WtW Grants


WtW grantee programs involve a complex network of collaborators, most often with the local PICs or WIBs as the lead organization. Of the 487 respondents to the second survey, 353 were PICs, WIBs, or the equivalent, a pattern that largely reflects the mandate for states to pass 85 percent of their formula funds to PICs or WIBs or approved alternatives. Although PICs or the equivalent constitute 73 percent of all grantee respondents, TANF agencies have, almost as often, been key participants in developing the grant application; also, community-based organizations, one-stop career centers, employment services, and other agencies are heavily involved (Table II.4).

 Type of Organization Percent of grantees reporting that the organization...
Helped Grantee Develop Formal Application or Plan for Competitive or Substate Formula Granta Is Represented on a WtW Steering Committee or Board with Grantee Organizationb Refers to WtW Grantee or Takes Referralsc
PIC, JTPA Administrative Entity, or Successor Entity 89.9 86.2 54.3
County or Local TANF Agency 80.7 82.3 86.9
Employment Service 49.2 66.8 61.4
One-Stop Career Center 49 58.7 58.1
Community-Based Organizationsd 63.6 78.8 76.8
Vocational Rehabilitation Agency 34 52.7 54
Housing Agency 37.5 41 54.5
Substance Abuse Agency 30.1 31.1 51.3
Source: National Evaluation of the Welfare to Work Grants Program, Second Grantee Survey (November 1999-February 2000)

a Includes only organizations that developed or submitted a plan (n=437).

b Includes only those grantees that have a steering committee or board (n=283).

c Includes only those organizations that make or take referrals (n=396).

d Includes community-based service organizations and community action or development organizations.

This close collaboration implies that the services constituting a WtW program may draw on other resources in addition to WtW grants. At the time of the first survey, for example, 65 percent of grantees responding to the survey reported that they planned, in their first grant year, to complement WtW dollars with funds from other sources. Most often, it was expected that other funds would come from JTPA (49 percent of grantees) and TANF block grants (41 percent). Most likely, reliance on these other funds to serve WtW participants reflected the fact that many WtW grantees also provide services to TANF recipients using such funding sources, and that WtW participants are drawn largely from the TANF population.

The second survey suggests, however, that grantees may be less inclined or less pressed to exploit other funding sources and integrate them with WtW grant funds than appeared to be true at the time of the first survey. In the second survey, about half of all respondents reported that they were combining WtW funds and other resources to help pay for WtW services or activities — down from 65 percent in the first survey. Fewer grantees say they are using JTPA and TANF funds to complement WtW funds. Only 26 percent now report that they are using JTPA funds compared to 49 percent in the first survey; corresponding figures for TANF are 28 and 41 percent, respectively (Figure II.1).


Funding Sources Used to Complement Federal WtW Funds

Although the complexity and variety of program funding patterns defy simple explanation, the apparent decline in reliance on other funding sources could be due in part to shortfalls in program enrollment associated with the restrictive eligibility criteria specified in the original BBA. Grantees who at first projected large numbers of participants eligible for WtW services may have negotiated for (or, in some cases, been able themselves to allocate) funds from JTPA and TANF sources to complement WtW funds in a comprehensive program of services. As noted in the earlier report based on the first grantee survey, some grantees used estimates of the overall number of TANF recipients likely to be eligible for WtW services as a projection of their total number of referrals and participants.

Actual experience has shown that the number of referrals to WtW programs is often lower than original projections for three reasons. First, referrals from TANF have been lower than anticipated. TANF recipients who might be eligible for WtW services frequently have multiple programs to select from to fulfill their work activity requirements and may therefore be served by TANF work-first programs instead of WtW. Alternatively, TANF recipients may find employment or otherwise leave the TANF rolls before referral to a WtW program. Second, the eligibility criteria have restricted the percentage of TANF recipients who can be confirmed as eligible for WtW services under the "70 percent" criteria, and WtW program operators have been reluctant to enroll individuals meeting the "30 percent" criteria and risk facing financial penalties. Third, declining TANF caseloads have shrunk the pool of potential eligibles who might be referred, thus increasing competition among all programs aiming to serve this population.

Faced with a smaller participant population, some grantees may be choosing not to press for, or allocate, JTPA and TANF funds to serve WtW participants. A PIC that has formula WtW funding, for example, also may be under contract with the TANF agency to provide work-first services such as job readiness classes, job search assistance, and placement. Similar services could be called for as a part of a comprehensive WtW program. If the WtW program were heavily utilized, the PIC might find it useful to use its TANF funds to pay for those preemployment components. If WtW enrollment is low, however, TANF funds could be reserved for other uses (such as serving individuals who fail to qualify for WtW services), in which case WtW funds might suffice for those people found eligible.(3) A similar change in the funding allocation calculus might be affecting the use of JTPA funds for WtW programs. In the case of both TANF and JTPA, however, dramatic increases in WtW enrollment in the future, if they materialize, could lead to a reversal of this funding allocation trend.

The decline in grantees' reliance on JTPA and TANF funds may also be associated with the general increase in availability of WtW funds in further rounds of formula funding distribution and competitive grant awards. Grantees reported, on average, about 33 percent more available WtW funding in the second survey than in the first (Table II.5). This increase reflects (1) that most formula grantees had received a second allocation of substate funding, (2) that some formula grantees had received competitive grants in the second or third rounds, and (3) that a few competitive grantees had received a second competitive grant.(4) Although grantees have now incorporated their additional funding into their estimates of total program participation, average funding levels have increased considerably more than has expected enrollment. Combined with the slow pace of enrollment, the addition of new WtW resources may help explain why TANF and JTPA funds are viewed as a less central part of the resources to be used for WtW programs.  

  First Grantee Survey Second Grantee Survey
Average Total Funding per Grantee Respondent $2,235,733 $2,974,945
Distribution of Respondents by Total Funding (Percentages)
$0 to $99,999 1.7 0.6
$100,000 to $249,999 4.2 5.0
$250,000 to $499,999 16.5 8.9
$500,000 to $999,999 27.8 18.8
$1,000,000 to $2,999,999 33.2 34.9
$3,000,000 or more 16.6 31.8
Average Expected Participation 537 595
Source: National Evaluation of the Welfare-to-Work Grants Program, First Grantee Survey (November 1998 -February 1999) and Second Grantee Survey (November 1999-February 2000).

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