Moving People from Welfare to Work. Lessons from the National Evaluation of Welfare-to-Work Strategies.. GED and Other Credential Receipt: Do welfare-to-work programs' investments in education and training result in higher rates of credential attainment?

07/01/2002

  • Welfare-to-work programs can increase the proportion of people who obtain a GED or high school diploma -- particularly among recipients who enter the program with literacy skills at or close to the high school level -- but the overall proportion of people who earn such a credential is likely to be low. Increases in the proportion of people who obtain a training certificate or postsecondary degree are harder to achieve.

Among nongraduates in the three sites that ran HCD programs, an average of 7 percent of those in the control group received a GED or high school diploma over the five-year follow-up period, whereas more than twice as many in the HCD group -- 17 percent -- did so (Figure 3). Overall, however, less than one-fifth of the nongraduate HCD program group members earned one of these credentials. The impact was mostly on GED (rather than high school diploma) receipt and was concentrated among people who entered the programs with high reading and math skills or at least an eighth-grade education. None of the LFA programs increased receipt of a GED or high school diploma. Examining both graduates and nongraduates, only three of the 11 NEWWS programs (one of them an HCD program) led to an increase in receipt of any other type of education or training credential, generally a trade license or certificate.


Figure 3.
Receipt of a High School Diploma or GED over Five Years:
Programs Can Increase the Proportion of Nongraduates Who Obtain a High School Diploma or GED, but the Overall Number Who Do So is Low

Figure 3. Receipt of a High School Diploma or GED over Five Years: Programs Can Increse the Proportion of Nongraduates Who Obtain a High School Diploma or GED, but the Overall Number Who Do So is Low.

SOURCE: Hamilton et al., 2001

NOTE: The percentages shown are averages for sample members in the HCD and control groups in Atlanta, Grand Rapids, and Riverside who were nongraduates at study entry.