This report responded to a congressional mandate for rapid findings on WtW program implementation. Responses to an early survey of WtW grantees nationwide, conducted at the end of 1998, provided an outline of the federally funded WtW programs and their initial start-up experiences. The WtW grantee survey provided an overall description of program structure, sponsorship, target populations, services provided, scale of operations, outcomes achieved, and challenges encountered. Early survey findings included the following:
- From the outset, WtW programs emphasized rapid attachment to supportive work. WtW grantees allocated substantial resources to getting participants quickly into work activities. In addition, the grantees emphasized supported employment through wage subsidies and worksite training over simple placement in regular jobs.
- Grantees were in the very early stages of implementation. About half of the grantees surveyed were not awarded grants until the latter part of 1998, and it took them several months to begin delivering services. By late 1998, about 40 percent of grantees had started enrolling participants but each had enrolled an average of only 60 people. Many grantees were having trouble recruiting at their anticipated pace in the early months, suggesting that overall enrollment numbers could be lower than grantees had planned.
- Grantees felt that the WtW eligibility criteria were too strict. Most grantees reported that the original eligibility criteria excluded some people from their programs who had serious barriers to employment, most notably individuals who had earned a high school credential but still had low skills.
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