Further Progress, Persistent Constraints: Findings From a Second Survey of the Welfare-to-Work Grants Program. Progress in Work Activity Placements Reflects Delays in Enrollment


Both field visits and the grantee survey suggest that grantees are moving expeditiously to place participants in work activities once they are enrolled in the WtW program. Most grantees provide for relatively short workplace readiness classes lasting a few weeks, after which participants are expected to move into a work activity of some kind.

The overall number of actual placements in work activities gives some indication that participants, once enrolled, are moving into work activities with reasonable promptness. Grantees responding to the survey had enrolled more than 80,000 people in their programs (see Chapter III), and about 50,000 placements in work activities had been made. Some participants undoubtedly have been placed in more than one activity, but these figures suggest that the majority of enrolled participants had at the time of the survey entered an employment activity. Since a lag between enrollment and placement is to be expected, and because some grantees had begun operations recently, it seems that grantees are being reasonably diligent and successful in moving people into workplace activities of some kind.

Nevertheless, grantees have a long way to go to meet placement goals, largely because of the slow pace of enrollment in their programs. Placements in unsubsidized employment at the time of the survey had reached about 24 percent of grantees' goals, while placements in various types of supported work activities ranged from about 13 percent to 34 percent of placement goals. It can be expected, of course, that placements will be higher in later phases of the grant period, as more participants make it past the preliminary job readiness activities. As with enrollment, however, the pace of employment placements will have to quicken if the goals are to be met within the originally defined three-year grant period. On average, grantees have made 40 placements per month since they started enrolling participants. To meet the overall goal across all programs, even allowing for placements up to the end of their grant period, grantees will have to increase this pace to 60 per month.

This challenge is evident in the fact that grantees generally fell short of meeting their first-year targets for placement in employment activities (Table IV.2). Grantees that responded to both surveys reported in the first survey on the number of placements they projected for the first year, and in the second survey on actual placements for that year. These repeat survey respondents reported placing an average of 95 participants in unsubsidized jobs, about 78 percent of their average target of 122. Other types of placement fell further short of goals; placements in work experience and subsidized jobs were about half or less of targets, and in OJT and community service about a quarter or less. To place as many participants as were originally planned, grantees' placement rates will have to accelerate, or grantees will need more time to reach their goals — or both. The two-year extension on the use of WtW grants sought by the Administration might make it possible for WtW funds to yield placements at the levels originally planned. 


  Percentage of WtW Grantees Planning to Use or Using Each Type of Placement  
Types of Employment Placements First Grantee Survey Second Grantee Survey Projected Number of Placements to Be Made in First WtW Year (Average)a Actual Number of WtW Participants Placements Made as of Second Survey Response (Average)a
Unsubsidized Employment 88.4 92.6* 121.5 94.5
Supported Work Activities
Work experience 70.3 68.5 73.6 41.5**
On-the-job training 72.0 55.0*** 43.1 6.8***
Subsidized private sector employment 46.1 36.3** 31.3 14.3*
Subsidized public sector employment 41.4 31.0** 39.9 11.5*
Community service 38.8 26.1*** 42.4 11.1***
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 Averages are for those grantees who reported in the first grantee survey that they would use, or in the second survey that they are using, a given type of placement. For grantees reporting in the second grantee survey that they were now making a type of placement they did not anticipate using as of their first survey response, we assumed that the projected number of placements in the first year of WtW operations was zero.

* 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.

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