Further Progress, Persistent Constraints: Findings From a Second Survey of the Welfare-to-Work Grants Program. The People Served and How They Are Recruited


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

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