Implementation of the Welfare-to-Work Grants Program. B. Job Placement Rates


The job placement rate--that is, the percentage of program enrollees who enter an unsubsidized job in the regular labor market--is traditionally used to gauge how well welfare-employment programs are doing. However, placement rates reflect other factors besides the effect of the program, including how individuals enroll in the program and how the program relates to TANF policies and programs (e.g., whether TANF participants routinely participate in TANF-sponsored pre-employment workshops or job search prior to referral to WtW).

Across the study programs for which MIS data are available, about half the participants entered an unsubsidized job after enrolling in the program,(23) at a starting hourly wage of about seven dollars. On average, participants who obtained employment did so about 15 weeks after enrolling in the program (Table V.2). This ranges from fairly rapid employment (4 to 12 weeks) in the immediate or temporary job placement programs in Chicago, Phoenix, and Indiana-RVR; to over 50 weeks in West Virginia-HRDF, where most participants engage in six months of occupational exploration (work experience). Job placement rates in the study programs range from 30 percent to 72 percent.

Not surprisingly, job entry rates are relatively higher in those programs that emphasize immediate job placement, and lower in the programs that provide primarily post-employment services. The highest job entry rate (72 percent) in the study sites is reported for the Chicago temporary employment program operated by Suburban Job Link, where the intent is to place individuals in temporary jobs with the expectation that they will transition to permanent positions. All who begin a temporary job are considered to have "entered an unsubsidized job" since their wages are paid by the employer. In addition to the Suburban Job Link program, the


Table V.2
WtW Program Job Placements, Selected Sites(As of April 2001)
Site % of Participants Already Employed Upon Enrollment % of Participants Placed in Unsubsidized Jobs After Enrollment Average # of Weeks From Enrollment to Placement Average Starting Hourly Wage


Chicago - Immediate Job Placement Programs <1 57 12 $6.96

Chicago - Temporary/ Transitional Employment Programs

0 72 5 $5.44

Fort Worth

9 45 18 $7.23


<1 66 10 $7.39

West Virginia-HRDF

0 61 57 $5.84


0 49 27 $7.00


0 67 23 $8.00


Chicago-Business & Industry Partnerships

0 67 14 $7.96

Chicago-Supportive Work/ Paid Work Experience Programs

0 48 16 $6.88


<1 58 15 $7.10


<1 38 19 $7.20



70 30 11 $8.00

JHU-St. Lucie, FL

41 59 4 $6.00
Source: Program Management Information Systems.
Note: Administrative data were not collected for the evaluation from Indiana-RVR and JHU-Long Beach; and MIS data were not available for this report for Boston and Milwaukee-NOW. Numbers reflect jobs entered by April 2001 by participants who had enrolled in each program by December 2000.


highest placement rates (of more than 60 percent) are in the Phoenix EARN program, which emphasizes job search and job placement, the Chicago Business and Industry Partnership programs, where employers make strong commitments to hire participants, and the Yakima SHARE program for noncustodial fathers. These programs have a strong job placement focus, or close linkages to employers, or they serve men. Lower job entry rates are reported by JHU-Baltimore, for example, because most participants are already employed when they enter the program. A job placement would be recorded only for the relatively small number of individuals who were not employed when they entered the program and those individuals who lost jobs while in the program and subsequently obtained another job.

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