Implementation of the Welfare-to-Work Grants Program. D. The Process Analysis and Objectives of this Report

08/01/2002

The general purpose of the process and implementation analysis is to describe the components, services, structure, management, and operations of the programs funded with WtW grants in selected study sites. A complementary objective is to identify lessons from these programs about how to implement programs and about strategies targeting hard-to-employ populations. This report is based on (1) information collected through two rounds of site visits and (2) data on participants and services from local programs' administrative management information systems.(7) The first round of site visits occurred in late 1999 and early 2000 and focused on implementation issues, program structure, client flow, and program services. The second round of site visits in 2001 updated the status of the programs and their experiences.

Site visits provided the primary source of information to address the broad range of topics in the process and implementation analysis. Over 900 semi-structured interviews were conducted with administrators and staff of grantee agencies and service providers in the eleven study sites.(8)  A general conceptual framework that included four domains was used to collect and analyze information from the sites:

  • External Conditions. These are factors mostly outside the control of state and local program administrators and staff, but which affect their programs. They include, for example, federal legislation and regulations, funding levels and mechanisms, labor market conditions, sociodemographic characteristics of the target population, historic experience and tradition with similar programs and policies, and politics and priorities. Such factors influence how a state or locality structures a program and allocates responsibilities among agencies and offices.
  • Program Structure and Management. This includes the organizational structure, such as the distribution of authority among state and substate jurisdictions, and interagency or interprogram coordination. It also includes general management policies and systems, such as contracting, performance systems, management information and cost accounting systems, and cost-sharing arrangements. These organizational and management factors in turn influence local operations.
  • Local Program Operations and Service Delivery. These include local dimensions of the program, such as operational systems, service delivery mechanisms, and client flow. Also of interest are the types of services offered and how they are delivered and experienced by participants, including approaches to client recruiting, intake, assessment, assignment to activities, and case management. The dynamic interaction between program structure and services and external conditions affects program results.
  • Program Results. These include program-level performance and outcomes at an aggregate level as well as individual outcomes at a participant level. Results and performance, in turn, have a feedback effect on the program itself, in some cases influencing management, organizational structure, and service delivery decisions to improve results.

Data on program enrollment levels, characteristics, activities, and job placement were obtained from administrative management information systems (MIS) from study sites. A research file was created that compiled data on all individuals enrolled into programs from the start of each program through April 2001 and documented each individual's employment-related activities and entry into unsubsidized employment. Characteristics of participants in each site were obtained from baseline information forms completed by program staff on samples of enrollees for the evaluation.

The following chapters provide an overview and analysis of the study sites and the programs that were operating in those sites as of mid-2001. Chapters II through IV focus on the key features of these WtW grant-funded programs: institutional structure; participant enrollment; and employment-related services and post-employment support. Chapter V describes the general program models operating in the sites, based on a synthesis of the program services information. Chapter VI presents conclusions and policy implications. Summary information and brief profiles of each of the study sites appear in the Appendix.

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