Implementation of the Welfare-to-Work Grants Program. VI. Conclusions and Implications


The WtW grants provide resources that can be used to operate a broad range of employment-related programs targeting TANF recipients and other particularly disadvantaged parents, especially noncustodial fathers. This implementation analysis of WtW-funded programs in eleven study sites suggests a few general conclusions. First, after a slow start-up, most of the programs were fully implemented by the time of the process site visits in 2001. The first twelve to eighteen months were devoted to addressing a range of enrollment problems, mainly related to complicated eligibility criteria included in the legislation and to difficulties in establishing procedures by which individuals were referred from TANF agencies to WtW programs. Second, the grants were used to design and implement various types of programs and provide employment-related services that go beyond basic job search assistance and job readiness preparation. The legislation expected grant-funded programs to complement welfare reform policies, which generally means they should be consistent with TANF policies that encourage or require rapid entry into the labor market. All the study programs have an employment focus with job entry rates roughly comparable to nationally reported rates for TANF-sponsored work programs. All the WtW study programs also offer various types of more intensive developmental components, including subsidized supportive work, paid and unpaid work experience, internships, and sheltered workshops. Finally, the experiences WtW programs had in designing and implementing programs for hard-to-employ welfare recipients and noncustodial parents provide useful program and policy lessons and insights, ranging from the potential role of program grants to the role of community-based organizations and feasible workplace-based employment approaches.

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