Implementation of the Welfare-to-Work Grants Program. II. Study Sites and Institutional Arrangements


The U.S. Department of Labor distributed WtW funds to a range of grantees including workforce investment boards, nonprofit organizations, colleges, and consortia of agencies or organizations. In total, between 1998 and 1999, DOL awarded over 700 WtW grants to states, local organizations, and tribal agencies. The formula grantees (i.e., state agencies) distributed most of their grant funds to local workforce investment boards (WIBs) according to a congressionally established formula. Competitive grantees (mostly local agencies and organizations) and WIBs, in turn, typically subcontracted with many service providers. The dual funding streams resulted in a system of diverse institutions and locally determined programs.

Not all programs received funding at the same time, and Congress allowed all grantees five years from the time of their award in which to spend their funds. The earliest programs started operations in late 1998, most began in 1999, and some did not enroll participants until later. At the time of the second site visits for this evaluation (mid-2001), all grantees still had at least one more year within which they could expend funds. Some programs in the study sites were still enrolling individuals, while a few programs had ceased enrolling new participants but continued to provide services to those already engaged.

The funding mechanism also resulted in a highly decentralized system. States were required to pass funds down to local WIBs according to a federal formula. WIBs, like most JTPA administrative entities before WIA, contract with various service providers. And many employment service organizations and institutions received direct WtW grants from DOL under the competitive grants component. Most of the 11 grantees selected for this study used WtW funds to support multiple programs, often operating in multiple locations, with varying arrangements for coordination, especially with TANF agencies.

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