The WtW initiative was created so that states and localities could focus special resources on helping the most disadvantaged low-income Americans achieve some success in the labor market. The BBA set requirements to ensure that most of the WtW funds were spent on services to individuals with a specified combination of employment barriers. The criteria proved too restrictive, however; over the first year of program operations, they impeded grantees' efforts to recruit and serve people with serious employment barriers who nevertheless failed to qualify for the program. This problem led Congress to amend the WtW eligibility criteria, in an effort to expand the eligible population and increase participation.
The second survey provides a basis for observing whether WtW grantees have begun to overcome the concerns created by the original eligibility criteria, but not whether the congressional amendments are having the intended effect. The second survey was mailed to grantees shortly before Congress acted to amend the eligibility rules (fall 1999), and was completed in early 2000, when the changes were just beginning to go into effect for some grantees. In fact, about a third of the organizations that responded to the survey did so before Congress had even acted. The second WtW grantee survey, therefore, does not capture how the recent eligibility changes will influence grantee expectations for or actual participation in WtW programs. The second survey nevertheless makes it possible to describe how early implementation experiences--especially the recruitment difficulties grantees encountered--affected overall expectations for participation in WtW and who is expected to participate, the progress that grantees have made toward their WtW enrollment targets, and their strategies for outreach and recruitment into WtW
Expected Participation in WtW Programs
Expectations for overall participation in the WtW grants program are affected by several factors related to program funding and early implementation experience. Additional grantees have received funding since the first survey; the plans of the new competitive grantees are likely to affect overall enrollment projections. In addition, formula grantees and a few competitive grantees have received additional funding since the first survey. Since they are asked in the survey to project the number of people they will serve with the WtW funds they have received, funding increments could in some cases be accompanied by revised enrollment projections. Finally, actual experience in the first year of program operations may have affected grantees' predictions of how many people they would be able to recruit and serve.
Grantees' Progress Toward WtW Participation Goals
Most grantee organizations have begun enrolling participants, but the pace of enrollment continues to be slow. Of the 487 organizations responding to the second grantee survey, 431 indicated that they had begun enrolling WtW participants. At the time of the second survey, these 431 respondents reported having enrolled a total of 83,689 individuals. Considering the period over which programs have been operating, this overall enrollment continues to lag behind grantees' plans.
Adjustments in WtW Recruitment Strategies
WtW programs will make full use of their resources only if they succeed, in collaboration with local partners, in generating a substantial flow of entrants to their programs. To some extent, WtW participants may be referred by TANF and other agencies. Evaluation site visits strongly suggest, however, that WtW programs also need to reach out energetically to those agencies, to encourage referrals, and to conduct their own outreach and recruitment.
The second grantee survey generally confirms the findings of the first survey on how grantees are going about recruiting participants (Table III.6). Overall, grantees are still most likely by far to name the TANF agency as their principal source of WtW referrals or recruits. Other means of recruiting, however, are also common. Importantly, two shifts in grantees' reported recruitment sources provide evidence to support observations from the exploratory site visits.
CHANGES IN WTW RECRUITMENT STRATEGIES: FIRST AND SECOND GRANTEE SURVEYS
||Grantees Planning to Recruit or Recruiting from These Sources
(Percentage of Grantees)a
|Estimated Share of WtW Participants to Be Recruited from Each Source
|Child Support Enforcement
|Grantee's Community Outreach
|Other Organizations' Community Outreach
|Grantee's Existing Caseload
|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).
a Based on responses of grantees that identified their recruiting sources. They represent 85 percent of all responding grantees in the first survey and 99 percent of respondents to the second survey.
b Estimates based on the projected share of total participants grantees expect to recruit using each method weighted by total expected participation. Percentages may not sum to 100 due to data rounding.
* Differences between first and second grantee survey results are significantly different from zero at the .10 level, two-tailed test.
** Differences between first and second grantee survey results are significantly different from zero at the .05 level, two-tailed test.
*** Differences between first and second grantee survey results are significantly different from zero at the .01 level, two-tailed test.