WtW Program Profile
Grantee: Office of Jobs and Community Services (JCS) in the Boston Economic Development and Industrial Corp. (EDIC)
Location: Boston, Massachusetts
Program Name(s): Welfare-to-Work Employer Sponsored Programs and Enhanced Community Service Programs
Program Structure: The Boston JCS-EDIC, a workforce development agency under the direction of the Mayor, has used WtW Formula Grant funding to establish two major initiatives to serve WtW-eligible individuals in Boston: (1) Employer Sponsored Programs that offer pre-employment preparation and internships linked with specific employers, and (2) Enhanced Community Service Programs that offer occupational-specific work experience. The objective of the Employer Sponsored Program is to prepare welfare recipients for entry-level jobs that are in demand in the community by working directly with employers who design and help implement the pre-employment program and commit to hire those who complete the program. These programs run in fixed cycles with a limited number of individuals per cycle and are intended for individuals who are more job-ready than those entering Enhanced Community Service. Each employer partners with a specific nonprofit organization, which provides personal counseling and case management to participants. The Enhanced Community Service Programs provide a more structured supported work-type assignment (three to six months long), designed as pre-employment preparation for specific occupations. This initiative involves 20 hours per week of community service in a specific occupational slot plus 15 hours of "enhanced" activities (e.g., basic skills) as appropriate.
Key Partners: EDIC/JCS contracts directly with the 11 employers under the Employer Sponsored program component and two community-based organizations (CBOs) under the Enhanced Community Service program component. Together JCS and the Boston Private Industry Council (PIC) developed the model for the work-based training provided under this initiative. The 11 pre-employment preparation Employment Partner Programs are: Marriott Corporation; Benjamin Health Care; Partners Health Care; U.S. Trust Corp./Action for Boston Community Development (ABCD); TJX/Goodwill; Caritas-Christi Health; Filene's Basement; Roche Brothers Grocery, TJX Warehouse and the Greater Boston Food Bank; Kid's Palace Daycare; Mellon Bank; and the Boston Neighborhood Employment Collaborative (a collaborative that includes hotels, hospitals and neighborhood organizations). The two occupation-based Enhanced Community Service Programs are: Action for Boston Community Development Inc. (ABCD), a child care teachers' assistant training project; and Jewish Vocational Service (JVS), a training program for various health and hospitality occupations. The three Boston Career Centers serve as intake points for the project are: (1) The Workplace, operated by JCS and Jewish Vocational Services; (2) Boston Career Link, a collaborative of Dimock Community Health Center, Morgan Memorial Goodwill Industries, Inc., and the Women's Educational and Industrial Union; and (3) JobNet, operated by the Massachusetts Division of Employment and Training (DET).
Program Model(s): The main focus of the initiative is to transition welfare recipients into full-time jobs within the private for-profit and nonprofit sectors through employer-based training. Under the Employer Sponsored Program, there is a strong employer focus--employers help with selection of participants for their training program and then structure training so that when participants complete training they can fill full-time positions. Training is conducted at the employer site, is short-term (usually about six weeks), and involves a combination of employability skills training and job-specific training. Under the Enhanced Community Service Program, participants work at supported work-type assignments for three to six months. Typically, job-specific training in a community service job is supplemented with up to 15 hours of basic skills training or other types of activities to increase employability. There is no formal commitment to hire in the Enhanced Community Service Program, but each program is industry-specific and the organization commits to placing participants into related jobs with benefits (within the host organization or elsewhere).
Number of Program Offices/Locations: Three main intake locations (at the three Boston Career Centers) and separate service sites for each of the thirteen programs (the employer's work-site, the nonprofit agency, or both).
Funding Sources: WtW Formula Grant ($11.3 million)
SERVICES AND PROGRAM FOCUS
Target Population(s): There is no special targeting of subpopulations or neighborhoods--all WtW-eligibles are considered for enrollment. All individuals referred from Career Centers to an employer program or community service program meet the 70 percent eligibility criteria, unless they live in an Enterprise Zone (EZ). Residents of EZs can be made eligible under the 30 percent criteria.
Outreach and Intake: The three Boston Career Centers are the intake points. The outreach includes: passing out flyers in Department of Temporary Assistance (DTA) offices; referrals directly from DTA workers; visiting community centers, churches, housing projects, etc. to pass out flyers and make presentations; and "word-of-mouth" referral. JCS has a full-time "outreach coordinator" to increase the community outreach efforts to explain the range of opportunities available to welfare recipients through the Career Centers. The outreach coordinator works with numerous CBOs, the Boston Housing Authority, and the Boston Medical Center.
Employment-Related Services: The structure of employment services varies across the employers and CBOs involved in this project. The employer-sponsored program model is generally six weeks long, although some last longer. The first segment consists of job readiness workshops and the second segment is on the job (e.g., internships, apprenticeship, job shadowing). For example, Marriott offers a six-week, 180-hour training program, which includes pre-employment and job-specific skills training. The first 60 hours is classroom training dealing with pre-employment skills; life skills; confidence/self esteem building; personal finance; diversity in the workplace; hospitality/customer service skills; and safety, first aid, and sanitation. Regular Marriott personnel teach all of these classes. The remaining 120 hours is hands-on experience through job shadowing. The six-week training is unpaid. Individuals receive weekly performance feedback once they are in the job-shadowing portion of the program. Case managers are around during lunches and breaks to help individuals with any issues that arise during the training. Upon completion of the program, individuals can be placed into a variety of different jobs at any one of four Marriott locations in Boston. Possible job placements at Marriott include: front desk clerk, housekeeper/housekeepers aide, PBX operator, utility worker, dining room attendant, restaurant server/banquet server, and engineering help.
Under the enhanced community services program component, there are two initiatives operated by CBOs (ABCD and JVS). Each provides 20 hours per week of community service in specific jobs/occupations, supplemented with 15 hours of "enhanced readiness services" (e.g., ESL, basic education). ABCD places individuals in day care teacher aide assignments; JVS works with a collaborative group of agencies that work mainly with immigrants and place individuals in health and hospitality assignments.
Innovative Practices and/or Services: The most innovative feature of this program is the very active and direct involvement of businesses in designing the program, selecting the participants, conducting the pre-employment preparation and the on-the-job component, and making an up-front commitment to hire those who complete the program. All program components occur on site at the workplace.
Second, each employer program has either a CBO partner that performs the case management (or in-house case management services) during the program and for up to one year after starting as a regular employee after the program. The case manager is fully integrated into the program model on a day-to-day basis, but has specific responsibilities for brokering services, counseling participants, and intervening/advocating with outside agencies as necessary.
Third, the program is well integrated with Boston's Career Centers and the state's welfare reform initiatives. The Career Centers are the central focal point for referral into all of the programs. The Career Center staff and the employer-sponsored program case managers coordinate routinely with the welfare agency to report attendance, etc. The Career Centers in Boston already have nearly all features required under the new federal Workforce Investment Act. The Career Centers also hold the major contracts for large parts of the state's TANF work program (TAFDC-ESP).
Participation and Activity Levels:(25)
Enrollment: As of January 2000, an estimated 445 individuals had been enrolled and served under the WtW grant program.
Employment Services: NA
Job Placements/Entered Employment: NA
WtW Program Profile
Grantee: Mayor's Office of Workforce Development (MOWD)
Location: City of Chicago
Program Name(s): Welfare-to-Work Program
Program Structure: Using WtW formula funds, MOWD has funded two rounds of grants to a total of 24 agencies in Chicago to provide a wide range of employment, training, and support services for WtW-eligible TANF recipients living in the City of Chicago. In addition, MOWD has partnered in a significant way on two other WtW competitive grants--(1) a Competitive WtW Round One Grant to provide six months of free public transportation assistance for WtW-eligible individuals and (2) a Competitive WtW Round Two Grant to provide employment, training, and support services for WtW-eligible residents of public housing units in Chicago. MOWD, which does not provide direct client services, selects and oversees WtW grantee organizations.
Key Partners: Under the WtW formula grant, the major partners include the Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS), which provides most referrals of WtW-eligible TANF recipients through local IDHS offices located in the City of Chicago; and 24 subcontracted human service agencies, which provide case management, employment, training, and other support services for WtW-eligible TANF recipients. Some examples of the subcontracting agencies include: Asian Human Services, Catholic Charities, the Center for Law and Human Services, Easter Seals, Employment and Employer Services, Goodwill Industries, MAXIMUS, Operation ABLE, Pyramid Partnership, Shorebank Neighborhood Institute, Spanish Coalition for Jobs, Suburban Job Link, and Sylvan Learning Systems. Under the Competitive WtW Round One Grant, MOWD is collaborating with PACE (a suburban transportation system) and the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA), which are making monthly transit passes available on buses and subways throughout the Chicago metropolitan area (over a six county area). Under the Competitive WtW Round Two Grant, MOWD is collaborating with the Chicago Housing Authority on administration of the grant and has selected three contractors to provide direct client services: the Abraham Lincoln Center, Pyramid Partnership, and Career Works.
Program Model(s): The focus of the programs funded under WtW grants administered by the MOWD is to serve large numbers of TANF recipients living within the city of Chicago and provide employment, training, and support services needed to rapidly move participants into unsubsidized jobs. Overall, there is a strong work-first emphasis that cuts across all funded agencies. However, there is also a broad range of service delivery approaches and subpopulations served under the program. There are also a number of agencies that provide specialty services, such as help for WtW participants to establish Individual Development Accounts (Shorebank Neighborhood Institute), to receive the Earned Income Tax Credit and other tax credits (the Center for Law and Human Services), to set up voice mail to facilitate job placement efforts (The Employment Project), and to improve reading, math, and computer skills (Sylvan Learning Systems).
Number of Program Offices/Locations: The WtW program provides services through a large number of contracted agencies (including 24 agencies under the WtW formula program). Some contracted agencies serve WtW recipients throughout the city, while others serve a particular area within the city. Some agencies have a single service location; others have several locations.
Funding Sources: Formula WtW Grants (total of $52 million, distributed in two rounds of funding of $26 million each); Competitive WtW Round One Grant ($3 million, in collaboration with PACE and the Chicago Transit Authority); Competitive WtW Round Two Grant ($5 million, in collaboration with Chicago Housing Authority)
SERVICES AND PROGRAM FOCUS
Target Population(s): The WtW program widely targets WtW-eligible TANF participants residing within the city limits. Several contracted agencies have experience in targeting and serving special subpopulations--e.g., Goodwill and Easter Seals (individuals with disabilities); Asian Human Services and Spanish Coalition for Jobs (immigrant populations); and The Inner Voice (homeless individuals).
Outreach and Intake: IDHS local offices refer virtually all WtW-eligible individuals to the subcontracted WtW agencies. Contracted agency staff market their services by maintaining communications with the individual IDHS staff who make referral decisions. Each IDHS local office has a targeted number of slots each month for particular WtW contractors' programs. IDHS local office staff is aware of these assigned slots and are guided by them, but they can also send a client to a particular contractor even if the IDHS office has no more official slots there, if the client has a preference. Some contractors also recruit small numbers of WtW participants through their own efforts and referrals from other agencies. Contractors notify IDHS of individuals who are directly recruited.
Employment-Related Services: There is a strong emphasis among all subcontracted agencies on providing job readiness and placement assistance (including job readiness workshops, help with resume preparation and interview skills, and help with job leads). This focus is in accordance with a strong "work first" orientation of the WtW program. However, each contracted agency has considerable flexibility to develop its service delivery systems, structure client flow and referral systems, and determine specific types of employment-related services to be provided. Hence, there is much variation across sites. For example, some agencies place a strong emphasis on rapid attachment of participants to unsubsidized jobs, generally featuring a work readiness workshop and substantial help with job placement (such as Employment and Employer Services, Operation ABLE, and MAXIMUS). Other subcontracted agencies feature paid work experience or sheltered workshops followed by placement into subsidized or unsubsidized jobs (such as Catholic Charities, Goodwill, and Easter Seals). Other agencies, such as Pyramid Partnership and Sinai Community Institute, feature close ties with a single or several employers--with the contracting agency providing screening and job readiness instruction, which is followed by participant referral to an employer for a short period of on-the-job training and then placement into a full-time, unsubsidized job. Most agencies provide some form of basic skills education and remediation (either directly or through referral to other agencies) and, though not a major focus, referral for short-term training to other training institutions or agencies. Through its performance-based reimbursement system for WtW subcontracted agencies, MOWD has made provision of job retention services a priority for agencies. To date, most job retention provided has centered on frequent employer and client contacts (especially to troubleshooting problems before they lead to job loss), provision of ongoing support services (such as monthly public transit passes), and assistance with upgrading basic skills to enhance employability.
Innovative Practices and/or Services: MOWD has modified contract provisions during its second round of WtW formula funding to get contractors to focus more on job retention and advancement services. Round Two contracts specify that 20 percent of funding be spent on job retention and skill upgrading. In addition, the Round Two contracts set incentives for long retention efforts, with reimbursement each month partially linked to the number of WtW participants reaching 30 days and 150 out of 180 days of employment.
MOWD has funded four "supporting role" contractors to provide specialized services that can be drawn on by participants in any of the other contractors' programs. First, the Center for Law and Human Services provides tax counseling, training on taxes and Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) for contractor staff and for libraries and community centers that serve the low-income population. Second, Shorebank, a community development bank, is providing Individual Development Accounts (IDAs) for WtW participants. WtW funds are used to provide a match for participants' own deposits to the IDAs ($2 for every $1 deposited by participants). IDA funds can then be used to help with a down payment for home purchase, offset the cost of education or training to upgrade worker skills, or for setting up a small business investment. Third, MOWD has contracted with Sylvan Learning Systems to provide basic skills instruction, GED preparation, and basic computer skills instruction for WtW participants. Fourth, The Employer Project provides a community voice-mail service, which offers 1,000 active lines, allocated to the various contractors, who can assign them to individual WtW participants for periods of up to six months and then reassign them to new participants as the earlier ones succeed in stabilizing their living situations and getting their own telephone service. The service is intended to provide a reliable, dignified way for participants to receive messages from employers. It also allows the contractors to communicate mass messages to all of their participants who are using a voice mail line.
Under one of its WtW Competitive grants, MOWD is partnering with PACE and the Chicago Transit Authority to provide over 1,000 free monthly transit passes for WtW-eligible individuals in Chicago. Participants receive transit passes providing unlimited use of the six-county system, which enables them to broaden their job search to include openings throughout the metropolitan area (e.g., in suburban areas, if they live within the city). This helps to expand the number of job openings considered by individuals and contributes to better prospects for higher wages. Also, once an individual secures a job, it reduces transportation problems and enhances prospects for job retention. WtW contracting agencies benefit because it makes it possible for these agencies to offer participants a valuable support service at no cost to the agency. Agencies also use the passes as a tangible benefit to engage participants in services and to facilitate client contact and long-term tracking (i.e., participants are often required to attend program activities, such as a job retention workshop, to receive passes). The passes also help workers get to work on time and facilitate job retention. Finally, the partnering transportation agencies--CTA and PACE--benefit because of the program promotes long-term ridership.
Participation and Activity Levels:(26)
Enrollment: As of April 30, 2001, an estimated 9,021 individuals had been enrolled and served under the WtW grant program.
Employment Services: As of April 30, 2001, approximately 93 percent of participants had engaged in pre-employment preparation; 20 percent had engaged in transitional employment; and none had engaged in education and training services.
Job Placements/Entered Employment: As of April 30, 2001, approximately 56 percent of participants had been placed in unsubsidized jobs after enrollment.
WtW Program Profile
Grantee: Tarrant County Workforce Development Board
Location: Tarrant County (including the cities of Fort Worth and Arlington), Texas
Program Name(s): Tarrant County WtW (overall initiative)
Program Structure: The Tarrant County Workforce Development Board, also referred to as Work Advantage, administers employment and training services for residents of Tarrant County, including the cities of Fort Worth and Arlington. Through its four Work Advantage Career Centers (and several satellite centers), the Board administers the formula and competitive Welfare-to-Work (WtW) grant funds, as well as CHOICES (Texas' TANF work program), Workforce Investment Act (WIA) funds, and Food Stamp Employment and Training programs. Structurally, the WtW program is closely integrated with the TANF CHOICES program. WtW provides supplemental funding that enables Work Advantage Career Centers to extend services to TANF recipients beyond the time period during which TANF/CHOICES services are available.
Key Partners: The Workforce Development Board contracts with local government agencies and community-based organizations to provide WtW-sponsored services. Under the WtW competitive grant, the Board has contracted with seven local agencies: The Women's Center of Tarrant County; Tarrant County ACCESS for the Homeless; Tarrant Council on Alcohol and Drug Abuse (TCADA); Texas Council on Camp Fire; Fort Worth Housing Authority; Fort Worth Transit Authority, and Tarrant County Mental Health/Mental Retardation (Research Division). Under the WtW formula grant, the Board has contracted with five local agencies: The Women's Center of Tarrant County, Inc.; Arlington Night Shelter; Goodwill Industries of Fort Worth, Inc.; United Community Centers; and Tarrant County Mental Health/Mental Retardation (Employment Division). The program is closely linked with the TANF system, with the Texas Department of Human Services (DHS) local offices referring WtW-eligible individuals to Work Advantage for orientation sessions covering TANF work requirements and WtW eligibility.
Program Model(s): WtW formula and competitive grant funds are being used to supplement and extend services available through TANF and CHOICES. All direct client services under the competitive and formula grants are provided through contracted local service providers, some of whom also serve as TANF/CHOICES service providers. Provider agencies have considerable flexibility to develop service delivery systems within the basic constraints of a "work first" approach. Using WtW competitive funds, Work Advantage has also funded three innovative capacity building initiatives (described below).
Number of Program Offices/Locations: Each of the seven WtW competitive grant subcontracted agencies and the five WtW formula grant subcontracted agencies has at least one project location; several have multiple site locations.
Funding Sources: WtW competitive ($3.2 million Round Two Grant) and formula ($4.0 million) grants.
SERVICES AND PROGRAM FOCUS
Target Population(s): The WtW program in Tarrant County does not target specific subpopulations. Rather, it serves all individuals who meet the federal WtW eligibility criteria. However, several service providers have expertise with certain subpopulations, and therefore, their WtW initiatives recruit and serve specific populations. Services to individuals with substance abuse problems are provided by Tarrant Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse; the Arlington Night Shelter uses its experience serving homeless individuals to provide job readiness and placement services to individuals in transitional housing; Goodwill Industries has extensive experience working with disabled individuals; and Tarrant County MHMR specializes in services for individuals with mental health and substance abuse issues.
Work Advantage has been working with local judges and the child support enforcement officials on development and implementation of an initiative to serve noncustodial parents (NCPs). However, this initiative was not expected to be fully operational by the time WtW funding has been expended. Through March 31, 2001, only a small number of NCPs had been served under the WtW program.
Outreach and Intake: Individuals enter the WtW initiatives in one of two ways--(1) they may be referred by local welfare offices to Work Advantage and screened for WtW eligibility or (2) recruited directly by WtW service contractors and determined eligible through a "reverse referral" process. Program administrators estimated that about half of the participants enroll through each method. TANF clients' first contact with Work Advantage occurs when the Texas Department of Human Services refers the client to one of the daily orientations (held at Work Advantage Careers Center or at a DHS office), which is a mandatory part of the TANF eligibility determination process. Each individual attending the orientation is given an appointment to return to the career center for an employment planning session, which includes assessment, service planning, and screening for WtW eligibility.
WtW service contractors also recruit WtW participants on their own--generally as part of the routine outreach methods used for other programs they offer. Information on these agency-generated (reverse) referrals is sent to a Work Advantage Center WtW Liaison for verification of WtW eligibility.
For example, the Women's Center may enroll clients who come to the center for counseling in its Jobs Now or other programs. They also conduct "family celebrations"--community parties to recruit eligible individuals for all of their services (including WtW). The United Community Centers, TCADA, MHMR, and Goodwill also screen participants in their other programs for possible WtW eligibility. The Arlington Night Shelter initially conducted outreach among individuals living in transitional housing and motels near the shelter. As their WtW programs have evolved, contractors report some new participants learned about availability of program services from former WtW participants and came in on their own to inquire about services.
Employment-Related Services: Services provided through the WtW-funded programs are determined by each WtW service contractor and vary somewhat across contractors. Contracted service providers emphasize rapid transition to employment, primarily through intensive case management, job readiness training, job search/placement assistance, and provision of support services. Pre- or post-employment job training has not been a major focus of subcontracted service agencies, although the agencies have provided post-employment case management, troubleshooting, and support services to enhance job retention.
Innovative Practices and/or Services: Work Advantage, through its WtW competitive grant, has funded several efforts to increase the capacity of systems that serve low-income populations in general, including: (1) Texas Council of Camp Fire, Inc., which was contracted to expand availability of licensed child care homes and evening child care accessible to TANF recipients in need; (2) Tarrant County ACCESS, which was contracted using WtW competitive funds to create a computer network that allows community service providers (specifically small, often faith-based, providers) access to a common set of data about individuals served, services received, and services available; and (3) Fort Worth Housing Authority, which was contracted to conduct social marketing research to help Work Advantage develop a consistent and effective message for marketing WtW services and other services to low-income individuals and families in Tarrant County.
Participation and Activity Levels:(27)
Enrollment: As of April 30, 2001, an estimated 409 individuals had been enrolled and served under the WtW grant program.
Employment Services: As of April 30, 2001, approximately 61 percent of participants had engaged in pre-employment preparation; 5 percent had engaged in transitional employment; and 13 percent had engaged in education and training services.
Job Placements/Entered Employment: As of April 30, 2001, approximately 45 percent of participants had been placed in unsubsidized jobs after enrollment.
WtW Program Profile
Grantee: River Valley Resources (RVR), Inc.
Location: Southeastern Indiana
Program Name: RVR WtW
Program Structure: RVR is the WIA administrative entity for two workforce development areas in Southeastern Indiana. In several of the counties it serves, the organization is also a contractor under Indiana's TANF work program, IMPACT. RVR's WtW program is designed to supplement the job readiness, placement, and supportive services offered by IMPACT. WtW also represents an important enhancement to IMPACT, which does not offer any paid work experience opportunities to participants. While RVR has used some subcontractors to provide services, in general, RVR delivers most WtW services directly to eligible participants.
Key Partners: The principal partner for RVR's WtW program is the Indiana Department of Family and Children (DFC), the state's TANF agency. While RVR is charged with determining eligibility for WtW and this enables its staff to enroll eligible persons directly, DFC is the principal source of referrals to the WtW program.
Program Model(s): RVR's Welfare-to-Work program is based on intensive case management, direct placement in unsubsidized positions for job-ready clients, and subsidized employment for less job-ready participants. Supportive services beyond what is typically made available through IMPACT are also central to the program. Finally, RVR provides WtW clients with intensive case management, before, during, and after subsidized and unsubsidized employment.
Number of Program Offices/Locations: RVR provides employment and training services through a network of branch offices located in each of the 19 counties the organization serves. WtW services are available at each branch office.
Funding Sources: As a JTPA/WIA administrative entity, RVR has received substate allocations of Indiana's Formula-based WtW Grants (for FY 1998 and FY 1999). The organization was also awarded a Round One WtW Competitive Grant. Programmatically, the services offered under RVR's Formula and Competitive WtW Grants are the same, with one exception. RVR set aside some of its Competitive funds to support the development of special, self-sustaining local initiatives called "community demonstration projects." These projects nevertheless represent a small share of the organization's WtW Competitive resources. RVR also received a state grant from the Governor's Discretionary Fund to operate programs for NCPs in selected counties in its service area.
SERVICES AND PROGRAM FOCUS
Target Population(s): RVR serves all individuals who meet the federal WtW eligibility criteria. While all of the branch offices serve eligible NCPs through their WtW programs, selected counties in the RVR service area have programs that specifically target NCPs. These are funded by a state grant funded through the Governor's 15 Percent Discretionary Fund.
Outreach and Referral: Early on, RVR conducted "community forums" with staff from local DFC offices and other IMPACT providers, as well as important community resources in every county. The objective of these meetings was to familiarize other organizations with the WtW program (including eligibility criteria) and to encourage referrals of potentially eligible participants, emphasizing that WtW was designed as a complementary rather than a competing initiative.
As was noted earlier, RVR staff is responsible for certifying WtW eligibility. Thus, all walk-ins and referrals to the organization's various programs (e.g. WIA/JTPA) are screened for WtW eligibility. To date, DFC has nevertheless been the principal source of direct referrals to the WtW program.
Employment-Related Services: The structure, sequence, and emphasis of the WtW services that RVR staff provides vary slightly across its branch offices. Common principles nevertheless guide local WtW efforts. Intensive case management services are provided to all WtW participants before, during, and after they are placed in subsidized or unsubsidized employment. After determining eligibility for WtW, RVR case managers typically begin an intensive assessment process, covering the participant's personal/family situation, work history, transportation and/or childcare issues, marketable skills, and educational attainment and goals. Assessments can take several in-person meetings to complete. Once completed, RVR staff develop an individualized job readiness activity plan for the client.
After assessment and job readiness activities are completed, WtW participants proceed to job placement. RVR case managers determine whether to place a WtW participant in unsubsidized or subsidized employment taking into consideration (1) the client's overall job readiness, (2) his/her employment preferences, and (3) the overall availability of subsidized and unsubsidized positions in their locality. WtW clients deemed job ready are directed to unsubsidized employment; those determined to be harder-to-place are directed to subsidized employment.
RVR offers two types of subsidized placements: work experience positions and job creation positions. Under work experience, participants become employees of RVR and are paid a wage comparable to what the employer would pay an unsubsidized employee in the position. (The client's TANF grant is adjusted to account for this income, minus applicable income disregards.) Work experience placements are for up to 40 hours per week and can last up to three months, depending on what would be a typical probationary period. Employers are not required to hire WtW participants at the conclusion of the work experience period. However, RVR staff encourage employers to do so and reported that most clients are hired. Job creation positions are also subsidized by RVR. However, the WtW client becomes an employee of the employer, who is also expected to hire the client at the end of the subsidy period. Another difference between job creation and work experience positions is that the former should be newly created for WtW participants. That is, job creation is not viewed as a mechanism to fill existing vacancies.
Once placed in unsubsidized employment, WtW clients work with their case managers for as long and as frequently as their need for case management and supportive services persists. Officially, there is no termination to a client's WtW eligibility. Resources and individual needs therefore guide decisions regarding the ongoing provision of services.
Innovative Practices and/or Services: Given that IMPACT does not offer any paid work experience opportunities, RVR's use of subsidized positions to help WtW-eligible clients gain valuable work experience and overcome barriers to employment seems an innovative practice. Another noteworthy practice is that RVR case managers may conduct home visits to WtW participants. As part of assessment, these visits can help staff develop a better sense of the client's home environment and potential barriers to employment. A missed appointment or an employer's call that the participant did not report to work may also trigger a home visit. Home visits thus represent an important intervention that can help deepen the relationships between RVR staff and WtW clients and preserve the link post-employment to promote retention. Finally, some RVR local offices have developed special WtW components that extend beyond basic services, for example, by linking clients to community mentors and/or offering classes to improve self-esteem and general life skills.
Participation and Activity Levels:(28)
Enrollment: As of June 2001, an estimated 663 individuals had been enrolled and served under the WtW grant program.
Employment Services: NA
Job Placements/Entered Employment: As of June 2001, approximately 70 percent of enrollees had been placed in unsubsidized jobs after enrollment.
WtW Program Profile
Grantee: Wisconsin Department of Corrections (DOC)
Location: Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Program Name(s): Nontraditional Opportunities for Work (NOW) Program
Program Structure: The Wisconsin Department of Corrections (DOC) received a three-year grant from the Governor's WtW 15 Percent Discretionary funds to design and implement the Non-Traditional Opportunities for Work (NOW) Program in Milwaukee County. The NOW program--which targets noncustodial parents (NCPs) on probation or parole--is closely connected with the Wisconsin Works (W-2) system, with most employment, training, and support services under the program being provided through four W-2 agencies. The services provided by the W-2 agencies under NOW are similar to the services these agencies provide for TANF eligible individuals under W-2. DOC provides front-end services--primarily recruitment and referral of eligible individuals to the appropriate W-2 agency--and shares responsibility with the W-2 agencies for providing ongoing case management.
Key Partners: Two state government agencies--the Department of Corrections (DOC) and the Department of Workforce Development (DWD)--played central roles in the development of the NOW initiative. In September 1998, the Secretaries of these two state agencies negotiated and signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that established the project goals and the basic design for the program. DWD--which has overall responsibility for administration of employment, training, and welfare programs in the state--determines WtW eligibility for potential NOW participants. DOC, the grant recipient and lead agency in the NOW initiative, contracts with four Wisconsin Works (W-2) agencies and a residential substance abuse facility (Faith Works) to provide NOW participants with case management, employment, training, parenting, and other support services. The four W-2 agencies are: Employment Solutions of Milwaukee (affiliated with Goodwill Industries); United Migrant Opportunity Services (UMOS); Opportunities Industrialization Center of Greater Milwaukee (OIC-GM); and YW Works.
Program Model(s): The NOW program seeks to enhance employability, job retention, and capacity to pay child support among ex-offender NCPs. The program approach has a clear "work-first" focus. Services closely parallel those provided for TANF recipients under other welfare reform programs administered by the four W-2 agencies. Each W-2 agency has flexibility to implement its own program strategies, so there is considerable variation across agencies in the types of services provided for NOW participants.
Number of Program Offices/Locations: NOW program services are provided principally by the four W-2 agencies at their job centers in Milwaukee County. In addition, the W-2 agencies refer NOW participants for training and a range of other support services delivered by other service providers throughout the county.
Funding Sources: Governor's WtW 15 Percent of Discretionary funds (of $1,092,959), matched by an $828,207 from the Department of Corrections
SERVICES AND PROGRAM FOCUS
Target Population(s): NOW targets noncustodial parents on probation or parole or who are inmates in minimum-security facilities and soon to be released. Program participants are overwhelmingly male (though a few women have been served). The NOW program targets only those individuals who will be subject to DOC field supervision long enough to allow them to complete the NOW program while still under supervision. NOW excludes NCPs if participation in the program poses a threat to the custodial parent or other family members (e.g., domestic violence offenders are excluded unless the custodial parent is aware of and agrees to the noncustodial parent's participation in the program).
Outreach and Intake: The NOW program recruits most NCPs through direct referrals by regular DOC probation and parole agents. DOC probation and parole agents refer from their caseloads NCPs who potentially meet the WtW eligibility criteria and would likely benefit from participating in the program. The NOW project coordinator compiles a list of referred NCPs and sends the list to DWD for WtW eligibility determination. WtW-eligible NCPs are enrolled in the program and re-assigned to the caseload of one of 10 probation and parole agents who are specially assigned to serve as NOW probation and parole. NOW participants are referred to one of four W-2 agencies based on a geographic match of the participant with a particular agency. NOW participants with substance abuse problems may also be referred to Faith Works, which provides residential facilities, counseling services, and a range of other assistance to help individuals to overcome substance abuse problems and secure work.
Employment-Related Services: The target population, most of which have recently been released from prison, is primarily interested in services that facilitate job placement. Thus, there is a strong emphasis among all W-2 agencies on providing job readiness and placement assistance (including job readiness workshops, help with resume preparation and interview skills, and help with job leads). Although in less demand by the target population, W-2 agencies also make available (as appropriate) short-term, career-focused job skills training (e.g., through referrals to the Wisconsin Technical College Systems and the University of Wisconsin-Extension Program). W-2 agencies also provide computer skills training and referral to basic education and remediation programs (e.g., area literacy councils, Even Start Family Literacy Programs). W-2 agencies have links with the employer community for subsidized jobs and on-the-job training opportunities. W-2 agencies can also refer participants back to DOC for work experience opportunities under DOC's Community Corrections Employment Program (CCEP) or the Wisconsin Conservation Corps (WCC) program. With job retention and upgrading posing major challenges for many ex-offenders, W-2 agencies provide an array of post-employment services, including frequent employer and client contacts (especially to troubleshooting problems before they lead to job loss), provision of ongoing support services (such as help with car repair and bus tickets), and assistance with upgrading basic and job-specific skills to enhance employability (e.g., basic education, ESL, and occupational skills training).
Innovative Practices and/or Services: Several W-2 agencies (notably Employment Solutions and YW-Works) have implemented parenting/fatherhood program components. For example, Employment Solutions offers a comprehensive, 26-session parenting/fatherhood workshop for NOW participants (using a formal curriculum entitled Fatherhood Development: A Curriculum for Young Fathers). Workshop sessions cover topics such as values, manhood, understanding the child support system, understanding children's needs, coping as a single father, male/female relationships, men's health, and substance abuse issues.
The NOW project places strong emphasis on case management. Each NOW participant has two case managers--a DOC/NOW parole and probation agent and a W-2 agency case manager. The DOC/NOW parole and probation agent retains final decision-making authority on services provided and sanctioning of the participant (i.e., revocation of probation or parole status, as well as other sanctions). W-2 agencies assign each incoming participant to a W-2 case manager or counselor, who is responsible for planning and arranging services and closely tracking participant involvement in the NOW program. The two case managers complement one another: the DOC/NOW agent brings to the project an understanding of the ex-offender population and the corrections system, while the W-2 agency case manager brings strong linkages with employers, trainers, and support service providers, as well as expertise on how to obtain and retain employment.
DOC contracts with Faith Works to provide residential facilities and counseling services for NOW participants with substance abuse problems. Five beds are reserved for NOW participants at Faith Works. Goals for the program are for participants to not relapse and stay in recovery, obtain a job (the goal is $13 per hour), re-connect with children and pay child support, obtain a GED (if the individual does not yet have a high school degree), and upgrade basic skills. All participants (whether coming to Faith Works from the NOW project or other programs) reside at the facility for generally nine months to a year. Faith Works offers a comprehensive counseling program that is closely linked to 12-Step programs offered through Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) programs, as well as a range of assistance to build self-esteem, basic skills, and job-related skills.
Participation and Activity Levels:(29)
Enrollment: As of December 2000, an estimated 225 individuals had been enrolled and served under the WtW grant program.
Employment Services: NA
Job Placements/Entered Employment: NA
WtW Program Profile
Grantee: Nashville Career Advancement Center (NCAC)
Location: Nashville, Tennessee
Program Name: Nashville Works/Pathways
Program Structure: The Nashville Career Advancement Center, the WIA administrative entity and the operator of the one-stop centers in Nashville and three neighboring counties, is responsible for administering employment and training programs for the Nashville/Davidson County area, including all WtW funds. Initially, WtW funds included a formula grant as well as a Round Two Competitive Grant, but the formula funds had to be returned in Fall 2000 due to the lack of a state match. The NCAC is also the lead agency for one of four consortia of local community-based organizations that contract with the Tennessee Department of Human Services to provide services for its TANF work program, called Families First. NCAC uses its WtW funds to operate the NashvilleWorks/Pathways program, which allows participants to count a variety of "small steps" toward their 40-hour per week work activity requirement while receiving intensive case management services and participating in monthly meetings with peers.
Key Partners: Major partners include the Tennessee Department of Human Services (DHS) and the three contractor consortia that operate Pathways programs (and also contract with DHS to provide Families First employment services). These are: Families First Partners, Inc., (includes Catholic Charities of Nashville, Nashville Urban League, Martha O'Bryan Center, and Nashville READ), PENCIL Foundation (includes the Nashville OIC, the Bethlehem Center, Tennessee Technical Center of Nashville and Career Directions) and the YWCA. Pathways was operated by NCAC itself as a pilot program during its initial year of operation but NCAC turned over responsibility for program enrollment, meetings and case management, as planned, to the three contractor consortia in summer 1999. NCAC continues to provide technical assistance to the contractors, advising on implementation issues and informally supervising their front-line staff.
Program Model(s): The NashvilleWorks/Pathways WtW program is based on the Project Match model and is designed to help eligible WtW participants find and keep employment by emphasizing a supportive, peer-group environment. Participants are required to participate in monthly meetings in which they make a plan for what they will accomplish in the next month and review fulfillment of the previous month's plan. Pathways staff, with caseloads purposely kept small, provide highly individualized, intensive case management and problem-solving support, as well as job coaching and job readiness activities. A key program feature is the waiver that allows Pathways participants to count family-related tasks and volunteer work as work activities toward the 40-hour per week work requirement for Families First. Staff can also offer supportive services that go beyond what is normally available to TANF recipients in both amount and flexibility.
Number of Program Offices/Locations: As of February 2001, Pathways programs were being offered at seven locations throughout Davidson County--four sites operated by the Families First, Inc. consortium, one site by PENCIL and two sites by the YWCA.
Funding Sources: Competitive WtW Round Two Grant ($4.2 million). Formula funds ($2.6 million grant) were returned in Fall 2000 when a state budget deficit resulted in the withdrawal of the state match.
SERVICES AND PROGRAM FOCUS
Target Population(s): The program is not targeting any specific subpopulations within the WtW-eligible population. Rather, it serves all individuals who meet the federal WtW eligibility criteria. Some efforts have been made to recruit noncustodial parents though overtures to other government agencies and private organizations as well as direct recruiting by one of the contractors, but at the time of the last site visit, these efforts had not been successful.
Outreach and Referral : Pathways operates as one option that can be chosen by participants in Tennessee's Families First program to fulfill their work activity obligations. Pathways must attract participants but once they enroll in Pathways, it becomes a mandatory part of their Personal Responsibility Plan. Since December 1999, DHS has been sending to NCAC a weekly list of all TANF recipients who have gone through redetermination interviews, identifying the Pathways/Families First contractor to which the individual has been assigned for Families First services. Once WtW eligibility has been determined, NCAC sends a letter to these potential participants which describes the Pathways program and the services available, and informs them that they will be contacted by the Pathways contractor to which they have been referred (which is also the Families First contractor to which they were assigned). Pathways contractors are also expected to recruit participants from within their own existing Families First caseloads and, in fact, at the time of the last site visit, the contractor's existing Families First caseloads were the primary source of new recruits for the Pathways program. For example, Pathways staff at PENCIL regularly make presentations describing Pathways Services to participants in the Families First ABE and GED classes in an effort to recruit new participants.
Other outreach efforts have included a public relations campaign of radio spots, TV ads and transit posters, as well as presentations by NCAC staff throughout the community.
Employment-Related Services: The focus of the Pathways program is not simply on getting people into employment; rather, it embraces a more holistic, human development approach that seeks to help people make gradual steps toward employment. In general, the more formal employment-related services (e.g., job search classes) are provided though the Families First program, which either precedes or coincides with enrollment in the Pathways program. However, as the Pathways program has evolved over time, the emphasis on employment and job retention has increased overall, with some variation among sites.
An NCAC staff person is assigned to develop paid work experience slots with both public and private nonprofit employers, who are both popular with and frequently utilized by participants and are not available through the Families First program. Job retention services--such as home visits and intensive case management characterized by flexibility and off-hours availability--are an important component of the array of Pathways Services. Pathways staff can also offer participants additional supportive services to "fill the gaps" above and beyond similar services provided through Families First (e.g., car repairs, emergency transportation vouchers).
Innovative Practices and/or Services: The Pathways program is an intensive, highly individualized service delivery model with no one standard sequence of services for all clients. It has been implemented such that it replicates the same model throughout the city of Nashville and thus represents an unusual attempt to bring a very intensive case management model up to a substantial scale by developing an extensive contractor infrastructure.
Additionally, NCAC has chosen to adopt a unique "franchising" approach to implementing the Pathways program on a substantial scale. Rather than simply establishing contractual terms and objectives and monitoring contracts with its contractors, NCAC has taken a more hands-on approach by first piloting the program model using its own staff to work out the initial problems, then contracting with other local organizations while still maintaining an active involvement. NCAC has continued to provide technical assistance to the contractors, advising on implementation issues and informally supervising the front-line staff at the contractor organizations (although they formally report to their own supervisors). NCAC also tracks a variety of performance measures for each of the contractors and shares this information with staff at the three sites. While there is still some variation in the program across sites, the strategy uses an existing network of community-based organizations to implement a consistent program model.
Participation and Activity Levels:(30)
Enrollment: As of April 30, 2001, an estimated 902 individuals had been enrolled and served under the WtW grant program.
Employment Services: As of April 30, 2001, approximately 64 percent of participants had engaged in pre-employment preparation; 23 percent had engaged in transitional employment; and 37 percent had engaged in education and training services.
Job Placements/Entered Employment: As of April 30, 2001, approximately 58 percent of participants had been placed in unsubsidized jobs after enrollment.
WtW Program Profile
Grantee: Transitional Work Corporation (TWC), Philadelphia Workforce Development Corporation (PWDC)
Location: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Program Name(s): Phil@Work, Transitional Work Corporation (focal program), Greater Philadelphia Works (overall initiative)
Program Structure: The Philadelphia Workforce Development Corporation (PWDC), the workforce development agency, manages the Greater Philadelphia Works (GPW) program. GPW encompasses several initiatives aimed at helping the city's welfare recipients and other individuals transition into the labor force and progress toward economic self-sufficiency. With additional support from the Pew Charitable Trusts, one of these is a transitional (i.e., subsidized) employment program for hard-to-serve TANF recipients called Phil@Work, developed and operated by the Transitional Work Corporation (TWC). The other is a short-term work readiness/job search assistance program. Both programs also provide job placement and retention services. Other GPW initiatives include programs for noncustodial parents and teen parents, and career advancement services for employed GPW participants. The focal program for this evaluation is TWC's Phil@Work.
Key Partners: TWC, a new intermediary organization, was created expressly to run the Phil@Work program, coordinated with the GPW. The Philadelphia County Assistance Office (CAO) of Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare (the TANF agency) is a key partner; staff from the 19 CAO district offices refer welfare recipients to GPW's Regional Service Centers (RSCs) and TWC. In addition, GPW contracts with several private organizations to operate the RSCs--Educational Data Services, Inc. (EDSI), Jewish Employment and Vocational Services (JEVS), IMPACT, and Congreso. Philadelphia's Community Behavioral Health (CBH) System provides participants access to mental health, substance abuse and Medicaid-managed behavioral health providers and WtW funds a full time liaison to handle coordination issues between GPW and CBH.
Program Model(s): GPW encompasses several program models aimed at helping welfare recipients obtain and retain employment. Phil@Work provides up to six months of subsidized, paid work-experience employment--referred to as "transitional employment"--and "wraparound" education and training, followed by assistance securing unsubsidized employment and job retention services. The RSCs offer work readiness, job search assistance, and retention services to individuals determined to be job-ready. The RSCs function as a rapid-attachment program model and have 30 days to place participants in unsubsidized employment. GPW also provides participants a career advancement (i.e., tiered employment) track and post-employment occupational training opportunities. Those not employed after 30 days with the RSCs are referred to TWC's Phil@Work or other GPW programs.
Number of Program Offices/Locations: As of December 2000, eight RSCs were geographically distributed around Philadelphia. TANF recipients choosing to participate in GPW/RSC services are assigned to an RSC based on the welfare district in which they reside. As of January 2001, Impact, Congreso, JEVS, and PWDC each operate an RSC and EDSI operates the remaining four RSCs. The Phil@Work program operates at a single location in downtown Philadelphia.
Funding Sources: The Phil@Work program operates with a combination of federal WtW Formula subgrant funds and state-matching funds (including support through the Governor's 15 percent Discretionary funds) totaling about $7 million. A $3 million grant from the Pew Charitable Trusts covers the program's administrative costs. The larger GPW initiative is supported through Formula WtW subgrants, a Round One Competitive WtW Grant, and a share of the Governor's 15 percent Discretionary funds. TANF funds are used to pay for many key supportive services (for example, child care).
SERVICES AND PROGRAM FOCUS
Target Population(s): The Phil@Work program targets hard-to-serve, WtW-eligible TANF recipients who have participated in a mandatory job search required by the TANF agency but did not find a job and have very limited educational attainment, lack work experience, have a poor work history, or are otherwise considered hard-to-place. Both Phil@Work and the RSCs typically serve long-term welfare clients who are nearing or have reached two years of TANF welfare receipt. GPW's WtW competitive grant programs target teen parents from the Philadelphia School District's Project ELECT and noncustodial parents who have new or existing child support obligations.
Outreach and Intake: TWC and RSC staff conduct outreach for their programs at the TANF offices during a work-requirement orientation all work-mandatory welfare recipients are expected to attend. After these orientations, welfare clients meet with their TANF caseworker to review their program options. Those who choose to attend either TWC/Phil@Work or the GPW/RSC receive an initial assessment of math/reading skills and screening for WtW eligibility at the TANF office by an outstationed GPW worker. Individuals may also be referred to Phil@Work by Regional Service Centers (RSCs). As of February 2001, direct referrals to Phil@Work accounted for about two-thirds of new enrollments each month.
Employment-Related Services: The TWC's Phil@Work program is a supported work model. Individuals in Phil@Work are immediately placed on TWC's payroll, receiving minimum wage ($5.15 per hour) for 25 hours per week for up to six-months. (Participants' TANF grants are adjusted to take into account this income minus their earnings disregard.) Program participation begins with a two-week orientation, which provides an overview of Phil@Work and covers a wide array of job-readiness and behavioral topics. During the second week of orientation, participants interview for and are placed in their "transitional work" assignments. Clients can choose positions from three occupational areas (clerical, custodial, or health) in government agencies or not-for-profits, and are paid for the hours worked. While in "transitional work," Phil@Work participants are also required to attend 10 hours of career development or "wraparound" training each week. Wraparound training activities are intended to enhance participants' employability and job-related skills through (mostly self-paced) modules on literacy, math skills, computer skills, GED preparation, job readiness, and general life skills. Participants receive intensive supervision and support from on-site "work partners" and their TWC career advisors while in transitional work. The work partner is a regular employee, who mentors and supervises the TWC participant on a daily basis and provides biweekly assessments of the participant's job performance to TWC career advisors. TWC pays $50 a month per participant to the work partners or employers of Phil@Work participants. Once Phil@Work participants are judged work-ready (based on their work partners' assessments) or are close to completing their six months of transitional employment, Phil@Work placement staff help participants obtain an unsubsidized job.
In contrast to the Phil@Work subsidized employment model, the RSCs represent a rapid job attachment model. After attending a brief general orientation, clients participate in job readiness workshops and directed job search activities. The program's objective is for clients to find unsubsidized jobs within 30 days. Each RSC has job developers who identify existing work opportunities and generate new ones by working directly with employers. RSC participants who fail to secure employment within 30 days from enrollment must be placed in paid community service positions (while continuing to search for work). Alternatively, they can be referred to the Phil@Work program or referred back to their CAO caseworker for re-evaluation and assignment to another program or exemption from work requirements (as appropriate).
Once placed in unsubsidized employment, GPW participants--both RSC and Phil@Work clients--become eligible for a wide range of supports and incentives aimed at promoting job retention. These include, for example, post-employment case management and re-employment assistance, public transportation passes for up to 16 weeks (if working 20 hours or more), assistance with work clothes, and subsidies for childcare during extended hours. When participants reach 30 days of continuous unsubsidized employment, they become eligible for GPW's career training program, which includes options in customer service, basic office/computer skills, home-based childcare, and others. As they reach various employment retention benchmarks, Phil@Work participants also become eligible for up to $800 in bonuses.
Innovative Practices and/or Services: Several features of PWDC's Greater Philadelphia Works program and TWC's Phil@Work are innovative or noteworthy. First, the Phil@Work program features a six-month paid, highly coached, and closely monitored work experience. Thus, it represents a promising model aimed at helping the hardest-to-employ recipients of public assistance obtain valuable work experience and overcome barriers to self-sufficiency. It also places high priority on working with employers to ensure they are satisfied with participants' performance. To provide additional support and incentives for retention, Phil@Work participants who secure unsubsidized positions become eligible for a maximum of $800 in retention bonuses (after 150 days of continuous employment). To help offset the burden imposed on work partners, TWC also pays $50 per month per participant to the transitional work supervisors or employers of Phil@Work participants.
GPW's tiered employment project provides a structured effort to provide participants opportunities for wage advancement. About 200 employers had formally agreed to be a part of the project--i.e., their employment opportunities had been categorized as Tier I, Tier II, or Tier III opportunities and the employers had signed papers formally agreeing to the "tiered employment arrangement." Once a participant successfully completes six months working at the Tier I level, s/he is guaranteed a job at the next (higher-pay) level. Tier I jobs generally pay minimum wage and offer no benefits. Tier II jobs pay $6.50-$8.50.
Finally, to promote career/wage advancement among WtW participants, GPW's performance-based contracts with RSC operators feature a schedule of bonuses for wage progression among placed participants (in addition to payments for service delivery, job placement, and retention), as well as for enrolling and helping participants complete career training programs.
Participation and Activity Levels:(31)
Enrollment: As of April 30, 2001, an estimated 3,753 individuals had been enrolled and served under the TWC Phil@Work program.
Employment Services: As of April 30, 2001, approximately 86 percent of participants had engaged in pre-employment preparation; 77 percent had engaged in transitional employment; and 77 percent had engaged in education and training services.
Job Placements/Entered Employment: As of April 30, 2001, approximately 38 percent of participants had been placed in unsubsidized jobs after enrollment.
WtW Program Profile
Grantee: City of Phoenix The EARN Alliance
Location: Phoenix, Arizona
Program Name(s): EARN
Program Structure: The EARN Alliance is a 501(c)(3) organization housed within the City of Phoenix's Human Services Department (HSD), Employment and Training Division. It was created specifically in response to DOL's RFP for WtW competitive grants, to provide services in the heart of Phoenix's Enterprise Community (EC). The city's HSD is the main TANF case management and sanctioning services contractor in the Phoenix Area. HSD is also the administrative entity for the Phoenix Workforce Investment Area (formerly the SDA). As such, HSD received the WtW formula grant. As of March 2001, the competitive and formula WtW grants had completely merged, a process that occurred in stages over the grant period.
Key Partners: The primary partners are the City of Phoenix Human Services Department/Employment and Training Division and the Arizona Department of Economic Security. Over the grant period, EARN has contracted and partnered with various organizations.
Subcontractors: As of the site visit conducted in April 2000, EARN had contracts with three organizations. The Marriott Corporation offered a job readiness course; Interview, Coaching, and Preparation Services, Inc. (ICPS) delivered in-depth interview preparation and other job search/readiness activities; and Chicanos Por La Causa (CPLC) offered services to monolingual Spanish-speaking participants and other participants in need of GED and adult education services.
As of March 2001, Marriott and CPLC are no longer contractors. EARN now refers participants to CPLC on a case-by-case basis. EARN continues to contract with ICPS. Two additional subcontractors are DiverseLinks and Southwest Behavioral Services. DiverseLinks provides a class that combines computer skills and resume preparation and works with clients after the job readiness class individually to edit and update their resumes. Southwest Behavioral Services provides post-employment mentoring services.
Other Partners: Until its grant ended in November 2000, the Phoenix High Performance Learning Project (HPL) was a key partner. This national competitive WtW grant program provided job search and placement services, and a post-employment, computer-based distance-learning course to those participants placed with an HPL employer.
A recently added partner is the City Sheriff's office and the courts, which were to begin referring WtW-eligible noncustodial parents to EARN in April 2001.
Program Model(s): EARN incorporates three strategies into its WtW program: 1) assist WtW clients through barriers that prevent them from working, 2) partner with small employers in the EC and provide them with incentives to hire EARN participants, and 3) provide WtW participants opportunities to engage in distance learning and provide on-going case management to improve job retention and advancement in the workplace.
During the first year of the grant, the program focused on start-up and pre-employment activities. During the second year of the grant, the focus shifted toward post-employment services, including mentoring.
Number of Program Offices/Locations: EARN has one office, located in the heart of the EC. Services are also provided at contractors' offices.
Funding Sources: Competitive WtW Round One Grant ($5 million Round One Grant); WtW Formula Grant ($955,000)
SERVICES AND PROGRAM FOCUS
Target Population(s): Originally, the EARN Alliance specifically targeted TANF and potential TANF recipients who met WtW eligibility requirements and resided within the EC. Under a previous grant modification, EARN expanded its target population to include residents of specified zip codes just outside the borders of the EC. When the competitive and formula WtW grants were combined, EARN expanded to serve WtW-eligible recipients from throughout the city of Phoenix. Because of the location of the program in the 75-percent Hispanic EC, EARN has served large numbers of WtW-eligible Hispanics, many of whom have limited English skills.
A further change in EARN's target population is the program's recent initiative to serve noncustodial parents.
Outreach and Intake : EARN has staff (mainly current or former EARN participants who had been hired by the program) that focus on client outreach and recruitment. Outreach methods include making phone calls, posting flyers, sending brochures, speaking at DES orientations, job fairs, and other community events, and going door-to-door at public housing projects and apartment complexes. Outreach workers ask some basic pre-eligibility questions and make appointments for an intake interview if a person seems eligible. EARN also receives monthly lists of TANF recipients from DES from which clients are recruited, but direct referrals for DES are not a major recruitment source. To support outreach efforts, EARN uses a number of promotional items (e.g., bright colored pens and pads, refrigerator magnets with the EARN logo and address, brochures describing the program, etc.) and a word-of-mouth incentive program (i.e., giving out movie tickets to everyone who successfully refers someone into the program).
At the intake appointment, clients receive a general orientation to EARN and their eligibility paperwork is forwarded to EARN's Data Management Specialist for verification, which takes three days to one week. In order to avoid early dropout, TABE tests are not administered until after a participant actually begins the up-front job readiness course.
Employment-Related Services: EARN provides pre-employment, employment, and post-employment services, with ongoing case management while the participant moves along this continuum. EARN has established four levels, which try to capture the interaction intensity of individual cases, and assigns case managers accordingly.
Most customers participate in EARN's three week up-front job readiness class, known as Career Opportunities Training (COT). During the last week of COT, EARN participants split their time between High Performance Learning (HPL) training in EARN's computer lab and interviews with EARN employers.
Most participants are hired by employers who are partners in the HPL program by the time they complete COT. For those participants who fail to secure a job offer by the end of COT, individualized placement assistance is provided by EARN staff. While searching for employment, they may also continue working on the various HPL modules in EARN's computer lab.
Post-employment services include case management and mentoring. Case managers counsel clients, follow-up with clients and employers, arrange supportive services, and make referrals to other services as needed. After six months on the job, the case manager reviews the participant's folder, and contacts the participant and works with the client to look at opportunities for pay raises, better jobs, etc. After 12 months, participants are referred to the one-stop (WIA) for services.
Upon employment, EARN participants are also referred to Southwest Behavioral Health for six months of mentoring services. Mentors visit their assigned EARN participants once per week at their job sites. They can also meet with participants outside of the job. The Southwest mentors attend weekly progress meetings with EARN staff, during which they review each participant's status and discuss any issues that emerge as a team.
Innovative Practices and/or Services: EARN offers examples of innovations or promising practices with respect to outreach, client participant incentives, relationships with employers, and mentoring. EARN employs former participants, who serve as outreach workers, and uses a variety of approaches to increase community awareness of the program (including door-to-door canvassing of apartment buildings, and television spots during shows that are likely to be popular with potential clients). Clients receive "EARN cash" for attending all classes, doing well in a class, etc. These incentive "coupons" can be used at the "store" operated by EARN which has donated clothing, make-up samples and other items needed to dress for the workplace.
EARN's approach to mentoring is also innovative. During the COT class, participants are introduced to the concept of mentoring and its values for personal and professional development. Those EARN participants who are not yet working are assigned one of the program's VISTA volunteers as a "transitional mentor." Participants who are working receive six months of "professional mentoring" by staff of Southwest Behavioral Health. After six month of employment, EARN transitions clients to a "community mentor," who is expected to work with the client for another three to four months.
EARN has established relationships with a number of large employers in the Phoenix area (several are HPL partners). For these employers, EARN provides a pool of applicants, transportation to/from job interviews, and personal support that helps employers retain workers.
Participation and Activity Levels:(32)
Enrollment: As of April 30, 2001, an estimated 757 individuals had been enrolled and served under the WtW grant program.
Employment Services: As of April 30, 2001, approximately 90 percent of participants had engaged in pre-employment preparation; 11 percent had engaged in transitional employment; and 40 percent had engaged in education and training services.
Job Placements/Entered Employment: As of April 30, 2001, approximately 66 percent of participants had been placed in unsubsidized jobs after enrollment.
WtW Program Profile
Grantee: Human Resource Development Foundation, Inc.
Location: West Virginia (29 County Area)
Program Name(s): Comprehensive Employment Program (CEP)
Program Structure: The Human Resource Development Foundation, Inc. (HRDF), has used its WtW Round Two Competitive grant (of $4,934,876) to design and implement the Comprehensive Employment Program (CEP) in 29 mostly rural counties of West Virginia. The program provides a 4-week job readiness workshop, work experience, job placement assistance, skills enhancement, case management, and a range of supportive services. In structuring its service delivery system under CEP, HRDF program administrators intended to build a service delivery system that could reach out to TANF clients "trapped" in rural areas, where there are limited opportunities for skills enhancement and job placement, and link them to more urbanized areas (i.e., "hubs") where resources and jobs are more readily available. HRDF has divided the 29 counties it is serving into six districts. Each district has a city that acts as a "hub" for service delivery. The hubs are in cities with well-developed infrastructures, fairly strong labor markets (with low unemployment and job opportunities), and opportunities for skills upgrading.
Key Partners: The structure of CEP is relatively uncomplicated, with HRDF serving as the competitive WtW grant recipient, designing and implementing the service delivery system, and directly providing most services. Its principal partner in the effort is the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Services (DHHR), the state's agency administering TANF. DHHR provides all referrals to the program (through its local DHHR offices). While these two agencies together provide a wide range of employment, education, job training, and support services, when necessary HRDF refers program participants to other local social service agencies--including ABE/GED courses provided by local education authorities, WIA/JTPA-funded training provided through local workforce development agencies, rehabilitation services provided by the West Virginia Department of Vocational Rehabilitation, and a variety of other local human services agencies.
Program Model(s): HRDF's CEP program is designed to provide WtW-eligible TANF recipients with pathways to economic independence and long-term employment by providing opportunities to obtain work experience, job training, counseling, enhanced supportive services, job readiness, job search assistance, job placement assistance, financial assistance, and mentoring. Drawing on its experience from the Supported Work Demonstration, the approach underlying HRDF's CEP program is to gradually increase the level of stress on the participant. A key focus of the initiative is on supportive work prior to individuals securing full-time, unsubsidized employment. Following a four-week job readiness workshop, many participants are placed (up to six months) in unpaid jobs at nonprofit organizations (referred to as "Occupational Exploration"). More capable participants are placed (up to one month) in unpaid positions at for-profit organizations (referred to as "Occupational Exploration Toward Employment") or in on-the-job training (OJT) positions.
Number of Program Offices/Locations: CEP program services are provided principally by six "hub" offices established and operated by HRDF. The local offices, scattered across the 29-county service area, are located in Morgantown, Clarksburg, Beckley, Charleston, Parkersburg, and Princeton.
Funding Sources: WtW Round Two Competitive Grant ($4.9 million)
SERVICES AND PROGRAM FOCUS
Target Population(s): HRDF's WtW program does not target specific subpopulations. Rather, it serves all individuals who meet the federal WtW eligibility criteria. Of the 510 to be served under the program, HRDF originally planned to serve 50 noncustodial parents (as of January 2001, HRDF had only served a small number of NCPs). While the program is not specifically targeted beyond the requirements included in the WtW legislation, because of the counties targeted, many served by the program come from small towns and rural areas.
Outreach and Intake: DHHR local (welfare) offices are the sole source of referrals of WtW-eligible individuals to HRDF hubs. DHHR family support staff refer many of their most difficult to serve participants--those facing multiple and serious barriers to employment--to HRDF. HRDF staff notifies local DHHR offices of when the next WtW workshop session will be held in their county. DHHR family support specialists discuss work requirements and referral options with each TANF recipient before referral occurs. If the family support specialist determines that HRDF's program is best suited to provide the services needed by the WtW-eligible TANF recipient and an HRDF workshop is scheduled in the coming weeks in a nearby county, the family support specialist completes and forwards a referral form to the appropriate HRDF hub office. HRDF accepts virtually every referral from DHHR. Each HRDF hub office holds an orientation session with prospective candidates at the DHHR local office in the weeks leading up to the start of each workshop to explain the WtW program and work out any problems (particularly related to transportation or day care) that may keep the individual from attending the workshop.
Employment-Related Services: All participants are required first to attend and successfully complete a 4-week, 100-hour job readiness workshop. Each individual receives a training-related payment (referred to as a "stipend") of $1.60 for each hour in attendance at the workshop or in transit to and from the workshop. Major topics covered in the 4-week workshop include the following: self-esteem, assertiveness/aggressiveness, motivation, self-management, time management, domestic violence, self-awareness, decision-making, career identification, resumes, goal setting, communication, meaning and value of work, employment skills, interviewing techniques, and interpersonal skills. Immediately following the workshop, while some participants secure or are placed into unsubsidized work, most are placed into a supportive work experience slot--generally, with a public or nonprofit organization (referred to as Occupational Exploration or OE) for a period of up to six months. A small proportion of participants--those who have prior job skills and experience--enter into work experience slots with private sector employers (referred to as Occupational Exploration Toward Employment, or OETE). While involved in an OETE or OE, the participant continues to receive his/her TANF benefits (while no wage is received through the employer), supplemented by a work-related expense payment of $1.60 per hour worked paid by HRDF. In addition to providing work experience and an opportunity to enhance employability, HRDF is hopeful that OE/OETE employers will hire workers once they see the individual perform on the job. Where possible, HRDF involves participants in skills enhancement activities--basic skills and/or vocational training--while they are involved in OETE. CEP participants are expected to conduct their own job search, but are provided with job leads where feasible and ongoing counseling and assistance in finding a job. HRDF also uses OJT slots as one strategy for moving individuals into full-time unsubsidized employment. Finally, job retention and advancement are emphasized in HRDF's program design through provision of wage supplements, employment incentive payments, and job retention assistance provided by peer mentors and HRDF staff.
Innovative Practices and/or Services: Because the service area is large and for the most part rural, a key strategy is to provide the transportation needed to facilitate participation in the job readiness workshop, skills enhancement activities, work experience, and other CEP activities. HRDF has 21 vehicles (including vans, 4-wheel drive jeeps, and passenger cars) purchased through a state government surplus program. HRDF hub offices often use CEP participants to operate the vehicles to transport participants to CEP activities. In addition, where necessary and to supplement assistance available under TANF, HRDF provides bus passes/tickets, subsidies for car insurance (liability), emergency vehicle repair, and reimbursement for mileage.
To encourage participants to stay in the program and retain work, the program offers participants several types of financial incentives: (1) work-related expense payments (stipends) of $1.60 per hour for participants involved in job readiness workshop, job training, and other project activities, (2) wage supplements for up to 24 weeks for individuals placed in lower-wage jobs, and (3) retention bonuses at 90 and 180 days after job placement. HRDF supplements the wages of CEP participants placed in unsubsidized jobs earning less than $7.75 per hour for the first 24 weeks of employment. The payment scale under the supplement is graduated so that individuals earning less receive higher supplements and so those supplements are reduced over time. The 24-week period is broken down into three 8-week periods in which participants receive an hourly wage supplement to bring wages up to the following amounts: first eight weeks, $7.75; second eight weeks, $6.80; and third eight weeks, $5.80. In addition to the wage supplement, all individuals placed in unsubsidized jobs receive an employment (non-cash) incentive payment of $200 after the first 90 days of employment and an additional $300 after the second 90 days of employment (i.e., for a total of $500), if they are employed at least 32 hours a week during the respective periods. These bonuses are paid in the form of either a gift certificate (e.g., to Wal-Mart) or a payment by HRDF to a utility company of the participant's choice.
Participation and Activity Levels:(33)
Enrollment: As of April 30, 2001, an estimated 717 individuals had been enrolled and served under the WtW grant program.
Employment Services: As of April 30, 2001, approximately 100 percent of participants had engaged in pre-employment preparation; 69 percent had engaged in transitional employment; and 25 percent had engaged in education and training services.
Job Placements/Entered Employment: As of April 30, 2001, approximately 61 percent of participants had been placed in unsubsidized jobs after enrollment.
WtW Program Profile
Grantee: Tri-County Workforce Development Council (previously called the Tri-Valley Private Industry Council)
Location: Yakima, Washington
Program Name(s): Tri-County WtW
Program Structure: The Tri-County Workforce Development Council (WDC) is the WIA administrative entity serving Yakima, Kittitas, and Klickitat counties. Tri-County WDC administers formula WtW funds for the three counties. These funds are used to support work-focused activities for WtW-eligible individuals, including noncustodial parents (NCPs). WorkSource Yakima, a One-Stop Career Center, is fully operational. All of the WIA partners, including WtW and Community Jobs (a statewide program in Washington that provides nine months of paid work experience to TANF recipients), are provided office space at the One-Stop.
The WDC contracts with local community-based organizations to provide WtW services.
Key Partners: Major partners include the Washington Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS, the state TANF and child support enforcement agency) and three contractor service providers. DSHS is the primary source of referrals of WtW-eligible TANF clients to the contractors. WtW services for NCPs are offered through the WtW funded Support Has Rewarding Effects (SHARE) program, a collaborative effort of the Division of Child Support Enforcement, the Prosecuting Attorney's Office and WtW contractors.
The three contractors are People for People (PFP), Yakima Valley OIC, and the Yakima Valley Farm Workers Clinic. The WDC serves as an administrative and organizing entity facilitating meetings, fulfilling reporting requirements, and distributing referrals among the three contractors. Although there are no formal agreements between DSHS, the WDC, or the WtW providers regarding referrals, there has been an ongoing collaborative effort to support WtW and other services to TANF and low-income families in Yakima. In addition, IAM CARES, a recipient of a competitive WtW grant to serve substance abusers, is now operational and has an office at the One-Stop.
Program Model(s): The Tri-County WDC operates its WtW program consistent with the state's WorkFirst TANF work program. According to the state's WorkFirst program, all TANF clients must engage in 12 weeks of job search as their initial activity. The required job search workshop is provided by the Economic Security Department (ESD) under contract to the TANF agency. If unsuccessful in finding a job, clients may be referred WtW. Tri-County's WtW program is based on an individualized, work-focused approach. Each of the three service providers offers case management and services tailored to meet individual needs. Services include job search assistance, direct job placement, placement in subsidized work positions, and supportive services. Since each organization has experience operating other workforce development programs and has longstanding community ties, each has a somewhat different client population and service focus.
Number of Program Offices/Locations: Services are offered through the offices of the three contract service providers. YVFWC is located on the Yakima Nation Reservation, providing services to both tribal members as well as residents of the southern part of the county. In addition to its main office in Yakima, PFP also has three satellite offices throughout the three-county service area..
Funding Sources: Formula WtW Subgrant, State Formula WtW Matching Funds, Governor's 15 Percent Funds.
SERVICES AND PROGRAM FOCUS
Target Population(s): In addition to serving all WtW-eligible TANF recipients, the Tri-Valley PIC program also serves eligible NCPs. There is no additional targeting of eligible subpopulations, although some providers focus more on NCPs and one contractor targets younger participants consistent with its Youthbuild program.
Outreach and Referral: The primary source of clients for the WtW program is referrals from the Department of Social and Health Services. Referrals of noncustodial parents are generated by the Division of Child Support Enforcement within DSHS. To enhance the identification of WtW-eligible clients, for a few months in the spring and summer of 2000, Tri-Valley PIC hired an individual to temporarily focus on screening TANF clients in the mandatory job search workshop for WtW eligibility.
Employment-Related Services: All three WtW contractors offer work-focused services--primarily job search and unsubsidized job placement--and all are Community Jobs contractors as well. All offer assessment, case management, and supportive services. Each provider offers post-employment services, focused on retention. The state Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) continues to implement new initiatives that support the employment of TANF recipients, including Community Jobs, Job Success Coaches, and pre-employment training. Many WtW participants are co-enrolled in these programs.
Innovative Practices and/or Services: The SHARE program represents an innovative and promising use of WtW funds to serve eligible noncustodial parents. Potentially eligible NCPs are referred by the child support agency to the Prosecuting Attorney's Office where WtW services are presented as an opportunity to assist parents in obtaining a job so that they may fulfill their child support obligations. This process is described as a contempt avoidance strategy. That is, if the noncustodial parent does not find a job on his own, or participate in WtW, in an effort to meet child support obligations, he will face the possibility of being held in contempt of court and jailed. Clients wishing to avoid contempt proceedings are referred to WtW contractors.
The AmeriCorps/OIC/Youthbuild project is another innovative use of WtW funds. By providing minimum wage to supplement the AmeriCorps stipend, NCPs are able to participate and learn a marketable skill (construction/homebuilding) and contribute to supporting their children.
In addition to WtW formula funds, OIC received state WtW match funds to operate a mentoring program. Mentors offer WtW clients support with issues that arise as they transition from welfare to work, and are even available in the evenings and on weekends. Mentors also communicate with OIC case managers to coordinate services to clients.
YVFWC also received state WtW match funds to operate a Family Development program. This program, supported by the state TANF agency, assigns a specialized caseworker, a Family Development Specialist, to cases with special needs such as substance abuse problems, domestic violence situations, or child abuse. The Family Development Specialist, who receives additional training on addressing these barriers, provides intensive case management, including home visits, to help resolve these issues. Once these issues are resolved, the client is referred back to the WtW YVFWC case manager to continue job search services.
Participation and Activity Levels:(34)
Enrollment: As of April 30, 2001, an estimated 749 individuals had been enrolled and served under the WtW grant program.
Employment Services: As of April 30, 2001, approximately 87 percent of participants had engaged in pre-employment preparation; 62 percent had engaged in transitional employment; and none had engaged in education and training services.
Job Placements/Entered Employment: As of April 30, 2001, approximately 49 percent of participants had been placed in unsubsidized jobs after enrollment.
WtW PROGRAM PROFILE
Grantee: Johns Hopkins University (JHU), Institute for Policy Studies SCANS/2000 Center
Location: Catonsville, MD, Long Beach, CA, and Ft. Pierce, FL (and four additional sites not visited for this study)
Program Name: Career Transcript System (CTS)
Program Structure: The SCANS/2000 Center at JHU received a grant to implement a post-employment skills assessment/improvement and career ladder advancement program called the Career Transcript System at subgrantee community colleges across the country. JHU funds programs over two phases at community colleges that had previous experience in workforce development and/or welfare programs. JHU WtW funds support case managers called Workplace Liaisons at each site, while the community colleges or their partner workforce development agencies provide office space, materials and supplies, and Liaisons' transportation expenses along with supervision of program staff. JHU furnishes their subgrantees with assessment and evaluation tools for use with employers' line supervisors and employees, a database for participant Career Transcripts, and training and ongoing assistance and advice in program design and operations. Finally, JHU funded a cross-site evaluation of the program.
Key Partners: Major partners with the community colleges are Workforce Development Boards. In one of the three sites, the program is housed in the One Stop operated by the WDB at the community college and the co-located TANF office provides referrals. In the other two sites, TANF is a partner that provides selected supportive services for CTS participants. Key partners to JHU for the WtW implementation are the American Association of Community Colleges, National Association of Workforce Boards, National Retail Federation, and selected national employers.
Program Model(s): The Career Transcript System is designed to enroll already employed, current and former TANF recipients and to assess, document, and improve workplace skills. Workplace Liaisons work with employed individuals and their supervisors to help participants retain jobs and ultimately identify and move up a career ladder. Video-based assessments of participants' workplace soft skills were conducted at the outset by Workplace Liaisons.(35) Paper and pencil forms also identify and evaluate these soft skills, which include interpersonal communications, teamwork, listening, punctuality, time management, etc. Employers (usually the immediate supervisors) review a list of 37 workplace skills and choose six or seven skills most important to successfully perform the job held by the participant. They record these on a paper and pencil tool called the AES Skills Coach. They rate participants' current performance on those skills using the AES Skills Assessment. Information from this review is then combined with scores from the video-based assessments (where applicable) to create a participant-specific evaluation. Finally, Workplace Liaisons and the participant collaborate to produce an Individual Development Plan, identifying short- and longer-term improvement goals and activities to accomplish them.
Workplace Liaisons rely primarily on the Skills Coach and Skills Assessments to plan a strategy to strengthen specific skills via counseling, coaching, or referring participants to education and training opportunities. They help mediate interactions between participants and their workplace supervisors when conflicts or difficulties arise and, in two of three sites, provide intensive case management to address participants' personal needs or secure access to supportive services. Participants are re-tested and re-evaluated at regular intervals. Workplace Liaisons occasionally conduct workshops to help supervisors become better coaches.
Number of Program Offices/Locations: As of May 2001, CTS programs were in operation at seven locations. Participating colleges are: Indian River Community College in Fort Pierce, FL; Community Colleges of Baltimore County, Catonsville, MD; Long Beach City College in Long Beach, CA; City Colleges of Chicago, IL; Eastern Iowa Community College in Davenport, IA; Manchester and Capital Community Technical Colleges in Hartford CT; and Mount Hood and Portland Community Colleges in Portland, OR.(36)
Funding Sources: Round Two multi-site Competitive Grant, and in-kind contributions from the community colleges and local partner agencies (some subgrantees have also received small grants from local foundations or other sources to support program operations). JHU received a total of $5.2 million, with $2.7 million of that amount going to the community colleges. The remainder is used for JHU program design or redesign, administration, licensing of proprietary assessment tools, contractors, and evaluation.
SERVICES AND PROGRAM FOCUS
Target Population(s): This program is not targeting any specific sub-populations other than the general WtW-eligible population. However, the program principally targets individuals who are already employed, as it is a post-employment program.
Outreach and Intake: CTS programs identify and enroll participants principally in two ways. By far the most common method is to contact local employers known to hire many low-skilled, entry-level employees and solicit their agreement to let their employees and supervisors participate. Then Workplace Liaisons identify and recruit eligible employees at the worksite. Participation is voluntary and requires agreement by the participant's supervisor or the employer's human resources director. The supervisor or HR director participates in evaluations and usually allows the Liaison access to the participant at the worksite.
The second method is that the program occasionally receives individual referrals from TANF and/or Welfare-to-Work providers or vendors seeking post-employment services for their clients (referral sources and processes differ among subgrantees depending on the structure of local TANF and WtW programs, and on the specific relationships between the community college and provider agencies). Other site-specific recruitment methods, especially in the early months, have included presentations at monthly meetings of welfare advocacy associations and other community groups serving low-income families, presentations at social services district offices, forging collaborations with AmeriCorps, and working with special low-income housing programs. Intake and enrollment are complete when the Workplace Liaison has explained the free job retention and advancement services to the prospective enrollee, obtained permission to speak with her supervisor, elicited approval from the supervisor for the employee to participate, obtained from the supervisor a completed skills assessment form (including identification of the half-dozen most important skills for the extant job position), and counseled with the employee about counseling and coaching services, and supportive services, that will be provided by the Liaisons to help participants stay employed and work towards advancement.
Employment-Related Services: Although Workplace Liaisons often help their clients address a variety of job- and family-related needs, as well as helping them to access services such as transportation, child care, housing or various treatment programs, the focus of the CTS program is on general workplace soft skills. The program offers a systematic way to measure and document both the levels and changes in these skills over time as participants gain workplace experience in entry-level jobs, as well as to help them identify longer-term employment goals and objectives. The key tools for this measurement and documentation have been two proprietary products: The AES Skills Coach, used to identify the half dozen most critical soft skills that an employee needs to succeed in their current position, and the AES Skills Assessment, used every few months to rate the employee's actual performance on the selected skills. In some cases, Liaisons must help their clients find employment in order to retain them in the CTS program when they have left or lost a job, though this was not a part of the original program design.
In addition to providing individualized services to participants, at the worksite or in their homes, Liaisons can conduct workplace seminars or provide employee or supervisor training courses or materials at the request or with the approval of participating employers. These services can be provided by the Liaisons themselves, or through the community college or workforce development partner(s).
Innovative Practices and/or Services: The Career Transcript System provides ongoing (and often intensive and extensive) services to support job retention in cooperation with both WtW-eligible participants and their employers and immediate supervisors. This active participation by the employer is one unique feature of the program, which seeks to address the high cost of turnover as well as the need of some employers for improved employee evaluation and supervision tools and approaches. The AES Skills Coach and Skills Assessment forms are viewed by employers/supervisors, CTS program directors, and Liaisons as the most beneficial tools in the CTS program. They assist employers in working with entry-level employees with little job experience, and provide a structure for working with low-skilled and inexperienced individuals to improve retention.
Participation and Activity Levels:(37)
Enrollment: As of April 30, 2001, an estimated 509 individuals had been enrolled and served under the WtW grant program--208 in MD, 175 in FL, and 126 in CA.
Employment Services: NA
Job Placements/Entered Employment: As of April 30, 2001, approximately 30 percent of participants at JHU-MD and 59 percent of participants at JHU-FL had been placed in unsubsidized jobs after enrollment; 70 percent of participants at JHU-MD and 41 percent of participants at JHU-FL were employed upon enrollment.