National Evaluation of the Welfare-to-Work Grants Program: Final Report. Employment Two Years after Program Entry

09/01/2004

In general, most enrollees were not employed two years after program entry. In five sites, the employment rate among enrollees was around 40 percent (Exhibit IV.6), very similar to the 42 percent employment rate for former TANF recipients nationwide reported by Loprest (2003).(41) In Milwaukee and Phoenix, the rate was even lower at 33 percent. Nevertheless, over two-thirds of enrollees in the two JHU sites were employed two years after entry, and about half of enrollees in West Virginia and Yakima were employed at that time.

Enrollees were much less likely to be employed at the end of the second year than at some point during that year. For example, in West Virginia and Yakima about half of the enrollees were employed at the end of the second year, but over two-thirds were employed at some point during the year. This finding and the relatively high job exit rates reported in the preceding section suggest that enrollees employment after entering the program was generally not very stable.

Employment rates among enrollees two years after program entry were remarkably similar to those one year after program entry for most sites, with both typically much higher than employment rates at program entry (Exhibit IV.6). For 9 of the 11 study sites, the employment rate two years after entry was essentially the same as it had been a year after entry. Milwaukee exhibited a particularly large decline (8 percentage points) in the employment rate among its enrollees, perhaps reflecting the fact that the clients the program served  mostly noncustodial fathers with a criminal offense in their record  had difficulty staying employed for very long.

Employment rates two years after program entry were slightly higher in sites that had implemented programs consistent with a pre-employment model as opposed to an employment model.(42) From Exhibit IV.6, we can determine that the sites following a pre-employment model (Boston, Nashville, Philadelphia, and West Virginia) had an average employment rate for enrollees two years after program entry of 43 percent, compared with 40 percent for the sites that were following an employment model (Chicago, Ft. Worth, Phoenix, and Yakima). However, due to differences in the populations served by the sites that followed these two models, this difference in employment outcomes is not necessarily indicative of greater efficacy of the pre-employment model. In particular, the employment rate of enrollees at the time of program entry was about 5 percentage points higher, on average, in the sites that were following a pre-employment model.

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