Implementation of the Welfare-to-Work Grants Program. III. Participant Enrollment

08/01/2002

The WtW grants program is intended to help the least employable and most disadvantaged welfare recipients and noncustodial parents (NCPs) make the transition from welfare to work. The legislation placed particular emphasis on serving individuals facing the most difficult barriers to employment, including persons who have dropped out of high school, have low reading or math skills, have limited work experience, have been dependent on welfare for long periods, or have substance abuse and mental health problems. Targeting and enrollment were perhaps the most difficult early issues programs encountered in implementing WtW. The strict eligibility criteria included in the legislation required grantees to devote considerable effort to identify eligible persons and verify eligibility. When enrollment proceeded more slowly than expected in all the study sites, each program adopted strategies to increase their participation levels. Despite the enrollment challenges, however, programs in the study sites eventually approached their planned participation levels(12) and targeted populations generally considered to have serious barriers to employment.

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