How Effective Are Different Welfare-to-Work Approaches? Five-Year Adult and Child Impacts for Eleven Programs. Impacts for the Full Sample

12/01/2001

Impacts for the full sample on three different measures of participation  participation in any activity, participation in job search or job club, and participation in any education or training activity  are presented in Table 3.1. Appendix Table B.1 presents impacts separately on participation in basic education, post-secondary education, vocational training, and work experience.

 

Table 3.1
Five-Year Impacts on Participation in Employment-Related Activities

Site and Program

Sample Size Program Group (%) Control Group (%) Difference (Impact) Percentage Change (%)
Any activity
Atlanta Labor Force Attachment 1,071 74.9 54.8 20.1 *** 36.7
Atlanta Human Capital Development 1,146 74.2 54.8 19.3 *** 35.3
Grand Rapids Labor Force Attachment 1,097 77.7 63.9 13.7 *** 21.5
Grand Rapids Human Capital Development 1,109 81.1 63.9 17.1 *** 26.8
Riverside Labor Force Attachment 1,219 78.2 57.4 20.8 *** 36.2
Lacked high school diploma or basic skills 657 77.0 55.1 21.9 *** 39.7
Riverside Human Capital Development 778 82.0 55.1 26.8 *** 48.6
Portland 504 83.8 75.0 8.8 ** 11.8
Job search or job club
Atlanta Labor Force Attachment 1,071 59.2 30.1 29.2 *** 97.0
Atlanta Human Capital Development 1,146 43.7 30.1 13.6 *** 45.4
Grand Rapids Labor Force Attachment 1,097 51.6 21.3 30.3 *** 142.5
Grand Rapids Human Capital Development 1,109 39.5 21.3 18.2 *** 85.6
Riverside Labor Force Attachment 1,219 53.5 20.4 33.2 *** 162.9
Lacked high school diploma or basic skills 657 58.2 19.6 38.5 *** 196.5
Riverside Human Capital Development 778 49.6 19.6 30.0 *** 152.9
Portland 504 65.2 35.4 29.8 *** 84.1
Any education or training
Atlanta Labor Force Attachment 1,071 42.2 35.3 6.9** 19.4
Atlanta Human Capital Development 1,146 61.2 35.3 25.8*** 73.1
Grand Rapids Labor Force Attachment 1,097 54.4 55.2 -0.7 -1.3
Grand Rapids Human Capital Development 1,109 69.3 55.2 14.1*** 25.6
Riverside Labor Force Attachment 1,219 50.1 48.9 1.3 2.6
Lacked high school diploma or basic skills 657 46.0 47.1 -1.0 -2.2
Riverside Human Capital Development 778 68.9 47.1 21.9*** 46.4
Portland 504 67.5 55.0 12.5*** 22.8
SOURCE:  MDRC calculations from the Five-Year Client Survey.
NOTES:  See Appendix A.2.

Most program group members (from 74 percent in Atlanta HCD to 84 percent in Portland) participated in some type of employment-promoting activity over the five-year follow-up period. Overall participation rates (participation in "any activity") did not vary by program focus; for example, while the Portland employment-focused program achieved the highest overall participation rate, the Riverside HCD program achieved the second highest rate. All seven programs increased overall participation relative to control group levels. The magnitude of impacts varied somewhat by program: Most programs increased participation by approximately 20 percentage points or more, while the Portland program had a relatively small impact of only 9 percentage points.(10) The fact that the Portland program did not generate a larger increase in participation is likely due to substantial control group participation in the later follow-up years. Control group members in this site more actively participated in self-initiated activities, particularly in years 3 to 5, than controls in other sites.

As expected, job search was the most common activity among program group members in employment-focused programs; well over half of program group members in all four programs participated in this activity over the five-year follow-up period. All four of these programs increased participation in job search by approximately 30 percentage points or more. Work experience (including on-the-job training and unpaid work experience programs) was also a somewhat common activity in employment-focused programs, particularly the Portland and Atlanta LFA programs. All three LFA programs had moderate impacts on participation in this activity, while the Portland program did not increase participation relative to the control group.

Notably, job search participation among HCDs increased markedly in the last follow-up years. Across the three programs, five-year job search participation rates ranged from 40 to 50 percent.(11) As previously noted, these increases were anticipated for several reasons. It is natural that with the passage of time in a longer follow-up period, participation in all activities would increase. More specifically, over time in these programs additional program group members completed their initial education-focused activity assignments, and those who did so were then expected to test their skills in the labor market through some type of job search program. Finally, as discussed in Chapter 1, these programs became somewhat more employment-focused over time. As a result of all these factors, five-year impacts on job search participation were larger than two-year impacts in all three HCD programs. Despite these increases, cumulative five-year impacts on job search in the Atlanta and Grand Rapids HCD programs were still smaller than those in their LFA programs  and in employment-focused programs in general, while the Riverside HCD program had a job search participation impact of 30 percentage points, roughly equal to the impacts found in the four employment-focused programs.

Education and training remained the most common type of activity for program group members in the three HCD programs throughout the five-year follow-up period. Participation levels in all three programs were in the 60 to 70 percent range on this aggregate measure. Two of the three HCD programs, Atlanta and Riverside, had impacts of greater than 20 percentage points on overall education and training, while the third, Grand Rapids, had a more modest impact of 14 percentage points.

The aggregate "education and training" measure includes participation in basic education, post-secondary education, and vocational training. Participation rates and impacts were also examined for each of these activities separately. (See Appendix Table B.1.) Notably, all three programs increased basic education participation for the full sample. The Riverside HCD program, which enrolled only nongraduates or those deemed by program staff to be in need of basic education at the time of study entry, increased basic education participation by 31 percentage points. The other two HCD programs, Atlanta and Grand Rapids, enrolled both graduates and nongraduates, and these programs had more modest gains when both subgroups are considered together. (Impacts are discussed separately for graduates and nongraduates, below.)

For the full sample, impacts on vocational training and post-secondary education were not as consistent across the HCD programs and, where they did occur, were not as large as impacts on participation in basic education. The HCD programs in Atlanta and Grand Rapids increased participation in vocational training for the full sample, although the latter impact was just below the threshold for statistical significance. No HCD program increased the percentage of sample members who took a course at a community, two-year, or four-year college.

While there was substantial education and training participation among LFAs  roughly half of all program group members in the LFA programs participated in an education or training activity over the follow-up period  impacts on education and training participation were much less common and, where they did occur, smaller in the LFA programs than in the HCD programs. Of the three LFA programs, only Atlanta increased overall participation in education and training activities. This impact was due to a 10 percentage point increase in basic education participation, as the program did not increase post-secondary education or vocational training participation.

The Portland program, while employment-focused, differed from the LFA programs in that case managers did not always assign individuals to job search as their first activity, and the program made heavy use of available short-term education and training programs. Portland staff, more so than case managers in the LFA programs, emphasized education and training as a means of building skills necessary to acquire higher-paying, stable jobs. This emphasis is reflected in program group members' participation: Over the five-year follow-up period, 42 percent of program group members took a course at a community, two-year, or four-year college, and 25 percent participated in a vocational training program. While the program did not increase vocational training participation relative to control group levels, the program did increase college participation by a notable 16 percentage points.