In comparing the LFA and HCD programs in Atlanta, Grand Rapids, and Riverside, it is difficult to draw strong conclusions about the relative effectiveness of the job-search-first and education-first approaches over a five-year period. Across the 10 subgroups discussed in this chapter, only three impacts on earnings were numerically larger in an HCD program, of 27 comparisons that were made. This suggests that the LFA programs were somewhat more effective than the HCD programs at increasing earnings.
However, differences between the impacts of the two approaches were generally fairly small and generally not statistically significant. Moreover, for no subgroup was the evidence compelling. The largest differences between the two approaches were for the most disadvantaged sample members. In Atlanta, the earnings impact was more than $2,000 greater for the LFA program than for the HCD program ($1,946 compared with -$290; see Table 7.3). In Grand Rapids, the difference was nearly $2,500 ($3,994 compared with $1,566). However, in Riverside, the impact was slightly greater for the HCD program than for the LFA program.